SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 10, 2013

Hospital chiefs outline health care strategies

(Continued)

Norton said the debate about the federal health care law over its constitutionality and the individual mandate to buy health insurance missed what is important about the law.

What will make more of an impact will be the move to a global payment system.

Presently, the contracts the hospital system is signing with local insurers and the federal government “is having more of an impact than the individual mandate,” Norton said. This new payment system will replace the so-called fee for service model, as hospitals will be paid a fixed amount for an individual’s care, no matter what happens to that patient.

“We will be incented to keep an individual healthy, as opposed to the current perverse incentives in which we get paid more when that individual gets sick,” Norton said.

North Shore Medical Center is streamlining care, creating “patient-centered medical homes,” which means hospitals will reach out to those with chronic conditions like diabetes, and investing in care managers to coordinate care for the sickest patients. Partners is making “a significant investment” in this approach, Norton said, at a time when the global payment system has not yet fully been in place.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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