Harvard Business Review

3 Keys to Shifting How We Pay for Health Care

By Todd Rothenhaus, MD and John Fox 

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"…organizations can survive, and even thrive through, the shift to value."

In 1998, Ben Lecomte became the first person to swim across the Atlantic. It took him 73 days to complete the 3,716-mile journey. When asked how he managed each day to confront the vast ocean that lay ahead, he answered, “I never jump into the water thinking about the entire ocean, I just cut it into small pieces. When I am in the middle of the ocean, I think about being in a pool and the pool moves with me.”

These days, health care organizations find themselves crossing another ocean — from fee-for-service to fee-for-value. By 2018, declared the Department of Health and Human Services back in January, half of all Medicare payments will be tied to value. Today 80% of Medicare is still fee-for service. That’s a lot of open water to cover.