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BIAS AND COSTS

ANCHOR LEAD:  DO GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS CAUSE PHYSICIANS NOT TO ACCEPT OBESE PATIENTS?  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

When the federal government uses ‘pay for performance’ standards, it causes physicians not to accept higher risk patients, and that includes those who are obese.  That’s according to a study from Johns Hopkins led by Martin Makary, associate professor of health policy and surgery.

MAKARY: Doctors are increasingly under pressure to accept patients not on Medicare not on Medicaid because quite frankly the reimbursements make the revenue model unsustainable for the practice.  Now they’re getting a double whammy because we know that those patients cost more and yet the payment is standardized.  You get paid the same payment for an obese complicated operation as you do for an operation in a thin person where the  operation’s uncomplicated.  The double whammy comes in when the government also punishes you financially when the high risk patient develops a complication.  :32

Makary says reimbursements must take risks such as obesity into account when outcomes are predicted or such patients may find it challenging to find care.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

 


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