Horizon pays doctors for monitoring patients, preventing problems

In an attempt to cut costs, health insurance companies in New Jersey are starting to change how primary care doctors are paid, giving them more incentives to monitor patients between visits, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, New Jersey's largest healthcare provider, has enlisted 63 primary care physicians to provide "patient-centered medical homes" to their 24,000 patients. Horizon will pay doctors a fee for coordinating patient care, including scheduling wellness visits and tracking patients' health, rather than the current model of paying doctors for treating patients after they've become sick. Doctors could make additional money if they can show their efforts ensure that more patients are getting timely screenings, according to New Jersey Real-Time News.

"So much of healthcare cost is driven by people with chronic conditions," Anne Weiss, a senior program officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, told the WSJ. "Being able to monitor these patients and coordinate their care has the potential to really save a lot of money and deliver better care."

To assist physician groups in meeting benchmarks, Horizon will staff "population care coordinators" at physician offices to provide clinical and administrative support to each practice. The coordinators are expected to help physicians transform their offices into medical homes, notes Becker’s Hospital Review.

To learn more:
- read the Wall Street Journal article
- check out the New Jersey Real-Time News story
- see the Becker’s Hospital Review piece

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