Doctors Weigh in on Cost-Cutting

Michigan is one of 31 states (plus the District of Columbia) that expanded Medicaid coverage to low-income adults in 2014-15. How is this shift impacting physicians and other healthcare providers? As more emphasis is placed on controlling costs, what kind of tradeoffs are providers considering to help contain costs while maintaining quality?

IHPI member investigators including Susan Dorr Goold, M.D., M.H.S.A., M.A., professor of Internal Medicine and Health Management and Policy at the U-M Medical School and School of Public Health, are surveying providers to learn more about how healthcare reforms are impacting their day-to-day-work.

In a recent study, Goold collaborated with investigators at U-M and the Mayo Clinic to poll U.S. physicians on their views about various strategies to contain healthcare spending.

Although they were in clear agreement that physicians (along with patients, pharmaceutical companies and malpractice attorneys) had a part to play in controlling costs, the doctor’s role as a patient advocate was felt to be a higher priority.

When it came to which cost-control measures found favor with doctors, those that improved quality (such as efforts to better coordinate chronic disease care) garnered more support than those that simply changed the payment model (such as eliminating fee-for-service reimbursement).

As a leading bioethicist (and outgoing chair of the American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs), Goold lends an important perspective to IHPI’s evaluation of healthcare reforms. Her research focuses on the tradeoffs faced when allocating scarce healthcare resources, and how those tradeoffs impact patients and providers.

Resources

Read a summary of the Goold article (Journal of the American Medical Association) →