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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Apr 1;181(7):752-61. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200903-0450ST.

An official American Thoracic Society policy statement: pay-for-performance in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine.

Erratum in

  • Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Dec 1;182(11):1456. Sinuff, Tasnim [added].



Pay-for-performance is a model for health care financing that seeks to link reimbursement to quality. The American Thoracic Society and its members have a significant stake in the development of pay-for-performance programs.


To develop an official ATS policy statement addressing the role of pay-for-performance in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine.


The statement was developed by the ATS Health Policy Committee using an iterative consensus process including an expert workshop and review by ATS committees and assemblies.


Pay-for-performance is increasingly utilized by health care purchasers including the United States government. Published studies generally show that programs result in small but measurable gains in quality, although the data are heterogeneous. Pay-for-performance may result in several negative consequences, including the potential to increase costs, worsen health outcomes, and widen health disparities, among others. Future research should be directed at developing reliable and valid performance measures, increasing the efficacy of pay-for-performance programs, minimizing negative unintended consequences, and examining issues of costs and cost-effectiveness. The ATS and its members can play a key role in the design and evaluation of these programs by advancing the science of performance measurement, regularly developing quality metrics alongside clinical practice guidelines, and working with payors to make performance improvement a routine part of clinical practice.


Pay-for-performance programs will expand in the coming years. Pulmonary, critical care and sleep practitioners can use these programs as an opportunity to partner with purchasers to improve health care quality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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