If state and federal regulators sign off on the plan, Highmark officials say the deal will allow them to move away from traditional fee models that reward providers for providing unnecessary procedures and services.Add to this that the Accountable Care Act and its Accountable Care Organization construct virtually requires all doctors to become employees of hospitals, we see there is little chance that independent private practices can survive much longer. So doctors lose more professional independence and autonomy and have even more chance that clinical decisions will be compromized by bureaucratic dictates. Yet ask patients who they want steering the boat when they get sick: their doctor.
Instead they would pay salaries to doctors, offering them incentives to achieve quality and efficiency goals. The integrated model would also rely on primary-care doctors to coordinate patients' care and focus on preventive efforts.
Highmark officials said the deal is the best way to keep West Penn in business. "It brings our expertise as an insurance company into the provider system," said Kenneth R. Melani, Highmark's chief executive.
It continues to be clear who the winners and losers are as health care reform unfolds. But when doctors lose autonomy, patients lose autonomy.
It's that simple.
To argue that the only way to control the health care dollar is to bloat the bureaucratic levels of our system is a fool's game. However, bureaucrats promote bureaucrats - it's always been this way. Until doctors and the public speak up, there's simply nothing to stop this train.