You-Just-Can’t-Make-This-Up Feature of the Day

May 16, 2011
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By its own calculation, Park Nicollet Clinic loses money on its Medicare patients… So last year, the company asked Dr. John Misa, the chief of primary care, to run an experiment. Could he design a clinic that would be able to deliver care at Medicare prices?

By its own calculation, Park Nicollet Clinic loses money on its Medicare patients… So last year, the company asked Dr. John Misa, the chief of primary care, to run an experiment. Could he design a clinic that would be able to deliver care at Medicare prices?

Misa and his team thought they had the solution: a “concept clinic” that uses doctors for only the most complex cases, and steers most patients to nurse practitioners and physician assistants… Then they did the calculations: What if Park Nicollet had used this model in 2009, when it had about a million total patient visits to primary care; and if everyone had paid Medicare rates?

They discovered that the concept clinic would have run at a 40 percent loss; about the same as the current model… The problem, in part, is that Medicare payments also drop under this kind of model; it pays less for visits with nurse practitioners than doctors. That ate up any savings.

Full article on the Park Nicollet Clinic’s lesson in Medicare.