A Veterans Affairs study found that people treated by doctors being compensated under pay-for-performance arrangements weren't short-changed and received high-quality care. Health Day News reports that the study, which used data from both medical charts and patients’ ratings of their care, "should reassure patients and the doctors who treat them." The study calms concerns that doctors might avoid patients who are very sick because their quality ratings and pay might suffer if they take the time to properly treat people with multiple conditions.
"Surprisingly, the study findings showed just the opposite," Health Day News reports. "Among the 141,609 people treated for high blood pressure at eight Veterans Administration centers, the researchers found that those whose cases were complicated by other medical conditions were more likely to receive better care than those who only had high blood pressure." Doctors pointed out that the study reaffirms the importance of electronic medical records. Health Day News reports that the findings do not necessarily apply to all people treated in all medical centers and that the study may be more specific to VA hospitals, which it reports has quality electronic records and care systems (Edelson, 6/3).