Real incentives, real impacts

From The Daily Beast by Daniela Drake:

Consider how this plays out in real life as opposed to a think tank. A hard-working doctor (of any race) has rendered careful, considerate care to a complicated patient. Yet a relative who gets the patient satisfaction form in the mail who might be pissed off at, say, the hospital parking fees—or maybe doesn’t like the color of the doctor’s skin—will determine how well the doctor gets paid, or even if he keeps his job.

And apparently that’s OK with our government.

It should go without saying that our government has no business promoting a program like this and it should be stopped. But it’s on track to get worse with Obamacare’s “pay for performance” that will withhold even more Medicare payments for low patient satisfaction scores. This financial threat is already causing unethical administrators to pressure doctors to compromise their professional standards to order unnecessary meds and tests to bump satisfaction scores.

For a future discussion of the bizarre incentive systems coming about in medicine.