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Bid to link pay and performance in cardiac care

Doctors at an academic medical centre in the USA are to receive incentive payments based on 60 performance measures for outpatient and inpatient care, under what is claimed to be an innovative cardiovascular programme.

The initiative could benefit thousands of heart patients in the Greater New York region.

Under the programme, at Montefiore Medical Center’s Montefiore-Einstein Heart Center, physicians will be scored on a mix of measurable activities indicating quality care.

Such indicators include whether the is patient enrolled in a smoking cessation programme, whether beta-blocker therapy has been persistent, whether blood pressure is under control, and patient satisfaction with care.

The programme is for heart patients and patients with risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking and obesity.

Montefiore Medical Center is the university hospital and academic medical centre for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. It claims to be the only hospital in New York state to initiate such a pay-for-performance programme, which is being funded by a $2.4m grant from New York State Health Department.

Dr Steven Safyer, Montefiore’s senior vice-president and chief medical officer, said: “This grant supports Montefiore’s continuing focus on innovations in cardiovascular treatment by adding a new approach. It gives us the opportunity to look at the physician side of the equation and to implement a model pay-for-performance cardiac care programme.”