Physician Network on Health Care Costs Consensus Themes and Recommendations

Eighteen diverse physicians provided frank feedback on ways to curb the cost of health care in the United States. Their solutions might surprise you.

By 2021, U.S. health care spending is estimated to reach $4.8 trillion. Now more than ever, there is a need to slow the growth of those costs, a sentiment shared by many health care stakeholders, including physicians. Given their dual roles as clinical decision-makers and advocates for their patients, physicians will be uniquely affected by any changes to health care payment.

To elevate physicians’ voices and ensure their involvement in the national conversation about health care spending and value, RWJF asked 18 physicians with a diverse range of experiences and specialties to share their ideas on what’s needed to curb health care costs. Over the past several months, members of the RWJF Physician Network on Health Care Costs shared their candor and insights to develop five robust consensus themes and recommendations:

  1. Payment models must be evidence-based, physician-endorsed, and thoroughly tested.
  2. Protecting and creating financial incentives is critical to broad physician buy-in.
  3. Meaningful consumer engagement requires better communication and guidance from physicians, more willingness from consumers, and greater investments in prevention.
  4. Improving quality and reducing cost requires a stronger health information technology infrastructure.
  5. Major changes in education and practice are needed to help reduce costs.


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Calvin Dodson, 50, is partially blind, suffers from hypertension, diabetes, loss of body control due to seizures and lives alone in his small apartment. He depends on caregivers to look after him, prepare his meals, wash his apartment and clothes, make sure he gets his medications and insulin shots. He benefits from the Personal Preferences Project, which pays him money to hire the caregiver he wants and feels most comfortable with. By hiring people he trusts, he feels more empowered to live an independent and healthy life, while being able to compensate his caregiver properly.

Mary Leggett, 54, is Calvin's caregiver of 5 years. She has worked closely with him and they are more like brother and sister. She takes care of many of his daily chores and needs, since he cannot look after himself due to his mental and physical disabilities.

She cooks, cleans, does his hair and some personal hygiene and takes him out most days.

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