Parks Associates Blog

Monday, February 02, 2009

Senator Kennedy to Propose PHR Incentive Bill

Senator Kennedy (D-MA) will soon introduce a bill to provide financial incentive to physicians who persuade their patients to set up and use personal health records (PHR). Under the bill’s term, physicians will receive up to $3 for each participating patient and the Senator’s legislation will help create a payment pool drawing funds from the Medicare trust fund, health plans, pharmaceutical companies and medical device firms. HHS will act as a coordinator to help qualifying physicians to register online and develop a list of qualified PHRs.

Suddenly, incentives are everywhere. Medicare now pays incentive to physician practices that adopt e-Prescribing or EMR technology. Incentive payment is also built into the patient-centered medical home model in various private sector- and Medicare-sponsored experiments. To qualify for these incentive programs, physicians have to comply with multiple standards and sometimes take on extra administrative burden. These extra jobs can be a distraction to physician’s core responsibility. Furthermore, these incentive programs are not integrated even though the technologies that these incentive programs target are synergistic to one another. Shouldn’t we create a common payment pool and consistent standards so that physicians can adopt these technologies all at once and benefit fully from it?

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