Impact of Physician Compensation Mechanisms on the Process of Care

Does the way physicians are paid affect the care they provide? Researchers evaluated how a change in the way physicians were compensated in the Fallon Healthcare System may have changed how they provided care for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and congestive heart failure. The researchers examined whether patients with these chronic conditions had a different number of office visits, hospitalizations, referrals to specialists or tests following a 1993 change in compensation method from salary to a method based on the size of patient panels. The objective of the study was to provide a better understanding of the impact of physician compensation methods on practice patterns.