Rate Your Doctor, Affect Her Pay?

How often do you send back a meal in a restaurant?  I did recently, when the salmon I ordered came with a gooey pink interior.  I admit I don't do it often but when a restaurant's not up to par, they should know about it.

So what do you think about measuring doctors' care the same way?  Today an editorial in The New York Times discussed the new pay-for-performance standards at 3 large NY hospitals, where doctors on salary will now be paid not a lump sum as in the past but on how many of their patients return to the hospital, how much money they can save the hospitals, and whether patients are satisfied.

Some may think it's been a long time coming. But living with a medical professional as I do, I know there are lots of ways doctors and dentists can be misjudged, especially over things over which they have no control (as the article mentions, for example, ER docs not being able to process patients quickly enough because beds may not be available on hospital floors, or attendants ready to bring patients to their rooms).  And rating anything based on how quickly and cheaply it can be done is not the way I'd like to think of medical treatment.

But something has to give in our exploding healthcare situation.  Just not sure it's the doctors.



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