Independence Blue Cross in Pennsylvania recently announced it would significantly boost its commitment to rewarding quality—not quantity—when it comes to reimbursing physicians. The plan is investing some $47 million in supplemental income to primary care physicians, with $33 million of that linked to pay-for-performance measures. In addition, the Blues Plan will offer additional financial incentives to primary care practices adopting the “patient-centered medical home” model of care delivery.

This type of reimbursement push can only continue to grow, as the industry seems to be waking up to the fact that it is much less expensive to prevent diseases than it is to treat them after the fact. And that is the very heart and soul of primary care medicine—preventive maintenance. And surely, with the looming shortages of family and primary care physicians, such economic boosts can only help to level the playing field. Physicians are discussing recently published surveys citing how the salaries of subspecialists are considerably higher than generally trained physicians. They note that among younger residents and medical students, many are eyeing lucrative careers in the sub-specialties, which are more highly compensated than family medicine or primary care. Can you blame them, given the huge debt load they will likely carry upon graduation?

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