On Thursday, the AMA and RAND Corporation released a joint study  on the effects alternative payment models are having on physicians and practices. The models they reviewed included: episode-based and bundled payments, shared savings, pay-for-performance, capitation and retainer-based practices, accountable care organizations and medical homes. The key findings from the study are below:
- The effect that alternative payment models have on practice stability, including financial impact ranged from neutral to positive. None of the practices surveyed experienced financial hardship as the result of involvement in new payment models.
- Physicians generally agreed that the transition to alternative payment models encouraged the development of collaborative team-based care to prevent the progression of disease.
- Most physician leaders were optimistic about alternative payment models, while physicians not in leadership roles expressed some apprehension.
- The operational details of alternative payment models can either help or hinder practices’ efforts to improve their own processes.
- Most medical practices have shielded individual physicians from direct exposure to new financial incentives created by payers. While practices are paid more for improved performance, they generally use nonmonetary incentives to encourage physicians, including providing performance feedback.