Atrius Health reaching back to its managed roots

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Manage episode 247711914 series 2148667
By CommonWealth Magazine and CommonWealth magazine. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
There’s a back to the future feel to some of the changes taking place in US health care, and Atrius Health, which provides care to some 740,000 patients, is a leading player in that effort in Massachusetts. After years of soaring health care costs, there is growing interest in moving away from the fee-for-service model that has long dominated care, where providers are paid for each patient interaction or procedure. The trend now is toward giving health providers a set budget to care for patients over the course of a year. The idea is that it creates an incentive for providers to do all they can to maintain patient health, even if it means more spending on preventive services to prevent costlier outcomes down the road. It harkens to the early days of managed care, when such a system was touted as a way to achieve the double-win of better health outcomes at lower cost. By the 1990s, however, HMOs were in retreat, faced with a public pounding as many big for-profit companies seemed more interested in managing costs by denying various services than promoting good health outcomes. The idea behind managed care, however, is enjoying a revival as the US health care system struggles to find ways to better coordinate care and control cost growth. At Atrius, one of the state’s largest health networks, with more than 700 physicians and 400 non-physician providers, more than 80 percent of all revenue now comes from some sort of global payment structure that moves away from the traditional fee-for-service model. “Which means we are directly aligned with our patients’ interests,” said Dr. Steven Strongwater, the CEO of Atrius, on this week’s episode of The Codcast. “We want to keep patients healthy and well and out of ERs and hospitals to lower their out-of-pocket costs, and to improve their outcomes, their patient experience, and safety.”

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