Value Indexing: Mayo Wants to Reform Healthcare Quality

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , July 23, 2009

"But, the beauty of this is that if you currently don't do well under this [model]—because your quality is not that good or your costs are real high, then that's even more incentive then to get the physicians and hospitals in that area to start working together and say: 'Hey, we've got to get our quality scores up and get our costs down; otherwise we're just killing ourselves,'" he noted. "That's part of the feedback that we think is a very integral part of this model."

And, attention is being paid at the federal. Two bills were introduced in Congress last month promoting the use of a value indexing. Sen. Amy Klobucher (D-MN) introduced S. 1249, the Medicare Payment Improvement Act of 2009, which proposes to create a value indexing mechanism for the physician work component of the Medicare physician fee schedule. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced a companion bill (HR 2844) in the House.

During last week's deliberations by the House Ways and Means Committee during hearings on the Tri-Committee health reform bill (HR 3200), Rep. Kind told the committee that not enough was being done "to change the incentives so reimbursement will be based on the value, rather than the volume, of services."

So will Congress consider a way to incorporate value indexing immediately into healthcare reform as it continues deliberations in the House and Senate? The Mayo Clinic is hoping so. In a July 22 letter to Congress that it co-signed with a dozen other healthcare organizations, it said that "'pay for value' is the only tactic that will 'bend the cost curve'" and improve quality of care.

Now is the time to find out.

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Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at

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