Obama administration unveils plan to shift Medicare payments, rewarding quality vs. quantity

Lifestyle and Budget Associated Press

The Obama administration is unveiling what it calls a historic shift in the way Medicare pays hospitals and doctors. The goal is to reward quality care and not just the sheer volume of services like imaging scans.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell made the announcement Monday, before a broad cross-section of health care industry representatives including insurers, hospitals and doctors, as well as employers, who finance coverage for most workers and their families.

Building on experiments under the president's health care law, Burwell set a goal of tying 50 percent of payments under traditional Medicare to new models of care by the end of 2018.

That can include so-called accountable care organizations, which coordinate care to help keep patients out of the hospital.