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A new study surveyed U.S. physicians about roles and responsibilities in helping to control costs

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Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:58 am | Updated: 11:32 am, Wed Jul 24, 2013.

As changes to the U.S. health care system are debated it’s clear that controlling the cost of care remains a major factor. A new study surveyed U.S. physicians about how they see their roles and responsibilities in helping to control costs while continuing to improve and provide quality health care for their patients.

Many u.s. physicians believe they have a role in helping to control health care costs.

“They feel like they are only one of several players that need to contribute to that process.” Said Jon C. Tilburt, M.D., M.P.H., of the Mayo Clinic.

Those include insurance companies, malpractice lawyers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies and their patients.

Tilburt added, “They are not going to let health care cost issues get in the way with them doing the right thing for patients.”

Dr.Tilburt and co-authors surveyed a random sample of U.S. physicians. researchers wanted to know about physicians perceptions on how prosposed cost cutting measures fit in with the way they deliver medical care and receive payment

“Physicians are most enthusiastic for improving quality and improving evidence being used in clinical decision making. And they don’t see any conflict between the idea of upholding the best interest of the patient and shaving off some of the marginally beneficial or wasteful care.”

The study appears in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.

“They’re not so enthusiastic about changing how care gets paid for including bundled reimbursement or cuts to Medicare or getting rid of fee-for-service medicine.”

Researchers say physicians on salary are three to four times more likely to endorse eliminating fee-for-service payments compared to those who rely on billing only.

“The overwhelming message we get from physicians is a sense of nervousness and a sense of this challenge of navigating between addressing health care costs and maintaining the needs of patients.” Said Dr. Tilburt.

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