Do you think Dr. Damian Folch, a primary care doctor in Chelmsford, is a model for the nation? You can vote on that here at The Los Angeles Times.
Oh, wait, you want to know how he might be a model? Well, he definitely has my vote when it comes to practicing “Lifestyle Medicine,” tackling his patients’ unhealthy lifestyles and getting them to exercise more. (Check out that story from earlier this year here.) But now The Los Angeles Times features Dr. Folch in “A shift in how care is paid for.” It’s an excellent explanatory piece about the shift away from “fee for service” medicine — paying doctors for each bit of care — and toward “global payments” that pay doctors for a patient’s overall care — and rewards them for keeping the patient healthier and costs lower. That shift is happening more systematically here in Massachusetts than anywhere else, the piece says.
CHELMSFORD, Mass. — It’s hard work being one of Dr. Damian Folch’s diabetic patients.
If a lab test shows high cholesterol, Folch is quick to call or email. No patient can leave the office without scheduling an annual eye exam, a key preventive test. A missed exam or an appointment leads to another call.
“We are a real pain in their necks,” joked Folch, a primary care physician in suburban Boston. “We track them down.”
That kind of attention has always been good medicine. For Folch, 59, it’s now good business. He is among thousands of physicians in Massachusetts whose pay depends on how their patients fare, not just on how many times they see them. If patients stay healthy and avoid costly medical care, he gets more money. Continue reading