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March 31, 2015

N.Y. Tests Pay-for-Performance to Improve Health Care

New York State has embarked on a five-year experiment to change the way doctors are paid for treating people in economically depressed communities, hoping to transform a hodgepodge of services into a coordinated network of practitioners and hospitals, The New York Times writes.

Among the alliances shaped by the $1-billion-a-year program is a nonprofit venture, Advocate Community Providers, that brings together more than 1,000 primarily Hispanic and Asian doctors in New York City and the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, a hospital chain. The new organization serves more than 770,000 patients.

The program aims to encourage doctors who primarily treat Medicaid patients to shift from fee-for-service practices to a new model of "accountable care organizations" that focus more on overall health — for example, encouraging people to quit smoking or better manage chronic conditions like diabetes to cut down on costly hospital and emergency room visits. The goal is to pay doctors based on better health outcomes rather than high patient volumes.