De-fragging Health Care

July 13, 2011Articles Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Few would disagree that the fragmented American system of delivering and paying for health care is dysfunctional. Physicians and hospitals get paid by the office visit, hospital admission or diagnostic test, and nobody is held economically responsible for the outcome of patient care from start to finish.

Largely overlooked in the ongoing health reform debate is whether the diverse players in the health industry can be encouraged to cooperate, coordinate services, control costs and, most importantly, ensure high quality of care.

By next year, a little-noticed provision of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 ("Obamacare" to its critics) may begin to bring accountability to a system with few checks and balances -- if enough health care providers are willing and able to participate.

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