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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2007 Apr;457:87-95.

Pay for performance in orthopaedic surgery.

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  • 1University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.


In recent decades American medicine has undergone tremendous changes. Numerous reimbursement and systems approaches to controlling medical inflation and improving quality have failed to provide cost-effective, high-quality health care in most circumstances. Public and private payers are currently implementing pay for performance, a new reimbursement method linking physician pay to evidence of adherence to performance measures, to constrain costs, encourage efficiency, and maximize value for health care dollars. High-quality research regarding pay for performance and its impact is scarce, particularly in orthopaedic surgery. Although supporters argue pay for performance will remedy the fragmented, costly delivery of health services in the United States, skeptics raise concerns about disagreement over quality guidelines, financial implications for providers and hospitals, inadequate infrastructure, public reporting, system gaming, and physician support. Our survey of orthopaedic surgeons reveals limited understanding of pay for performance, marked skepticism of nonphysician stakeholders' intentions, and a strong desire for greater clinician involvement in shaping the pay for performance movement. As pay for performance will likely be a long-term change that will have an impact on every orthopaedic surgeon, clinician awareness and participation will be fundamental in creating successful pay for performance programs.

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