AMA Innovator Committee to Report Findings

Mass. Global Payment Expert Among Panelists

Vital Signs: May 2012

Nearly one year ago, a dozen physician experts in innovation were invited by the American Medical Association to form a national Committee of Innovators, charged with examining the challenges physicians will face as a result of emerging health care payment and delivery reforms. Springfield internist and geriatrics specialist Philip F. Gaziano, M.D., was one of those chosen, selected for his extensive experience with global capitation payment and delivery systems.

The past 12 months have been intense, Dr. Gaziano said in a recent interview with Vital Signs. The committee meets by conference call or in Washington, D.C., monthly and members correspond and exchange ideas almost daily.

The committee findings are slated to be presented to leaders from the AMA, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Surgeons this spring.

"The emphasis is on delivering quality health care and reducing waste," said Dr. Gaziano. "And the goal is to look at both health care delivery reform and health care payment reform - you can't do one without the other - and come up with education models and how-to documents reflecting strengths and weaknesses from the real world."

His Innovator Committee colleagues from across the country bring a wide range of expertise on topics such as medical homes, bundled payments, partial capitation, and integrated care systems. Dr. Gaziano's years of success in pioneering affordable global payment models that were easily scalable to almost any practice - even solo practitioners who are not yet using EHR systems - attracted the AMA's interest, he said.

"This is a great way to communicate with lots of people and move pilots and innovations out there past the grassroots level," he said. All of the Innovator Committee efforts are informed by physicians who have tested their theories in the real world, said Dr. Gaziano. "It is encouraging that the thought leadership is coming from physicians, and that the practicing community is making such a major contribution," he said.

He said many health care providers are still not fully connecting with the dramatic and permanent upheaval in the field. "I find myself telling people who think these changes are 'typical' that we are actually in a once-in-200-years irreversible change," he said. "Health care is now 20 percent of the GDP. There has not been a change {in our lifetimes} that has impacted so many people and livelihoods, and also has so much potential for improved quality and satisfaction."

- Erica Noonan

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