Richard Kravitz, UC Davis professor of internal medicine, has been named to a newly formed independent commission that will assess how physicians are paid. Kravitz's research has long focused on the causes and consequences of physician behavior, the physician-patient relationship, and how patients influence the quality of their own care. He joins a panel established by the Society of General Internal Medicine and chaired by former U.S. Senator Bill Frist and the former president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Steven Schroeder.
The new group, called the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform, consists of physicians, executives of major health-care systems, business leaders and health-policy and medical-ethics experts. In addition to evaluating on how physicians are paid, the panel will propose cost-conscious solutions for improving patient care as well as the potential impacts of proposed health-care payment models such as accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes and value-based purchasing.
Commission organizers say there is a rapidly growing need to rein in the skyrocketing costs of health care. According to the Society of General Internal Medicine, without major changes to the nation's health care system, the U.S. is on track to spend $4.5 trillion on health care within the next seven years. It notes that how physicians are paid is a major driver in the cost of health care, and that uncertainty continues to surround implementation of the 2010 Patient Protection Affordable Care Act.
"I'm really looking forward to joining this commission," said Kravitz, who also is co-vice chair for research in the UC Davis Department of Internal Medicine. "Members will bring a wide diversity of views that will contribute to the needed debate on how new payment systems will affect the doctor-patient relationship and quality of care."
In past work, Kravitz and research colleagues have investigated the connections among patient mix, utilization of health-care services and physician specialty and system of care. He has also examined patients' expectations for care, how physicians respond to patient requests for health-care services, and how direct-to-consumer prescription-drug advertising affects physician decision-making in cases of depression.
The commission will meet over the course of 12 months and is expected to produce its findings and recommendations in early 2013. The group is funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Healthcare Foundation. For more information, visit PhysicianPaymentCommission.org.