Does a Change in Physician Compensation Lead to Changes in Care Delivery in Family Medicine Clinics?

Many highly capitated systems still pay physicians based on relative value units (RVU), which may lead to excessive office visits. In this study by the PATH collaborative, HIP Investigator Dr. Maureen Smith along with other authors reviewed electronic health records from the family medicine clinic panel members of 97 physicians and 42 residents to determine if a change from RVUs to panel-based compensation influenced care delivery as defined by the number of office visits and telephone contacts per panel member per month.

They found that change in physician compensation was not a key driver of care delivery in family medicine clinics, although some significant effects were seen in individual clinics without any clear patterns by clinic size or type. They conclude that understanding changes in care delivery may require looking at a broad array of system, physician, and patient factors.

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