What is value-based care?
Value-based care ties the amount health care providers earn for their services to the results they deliver for their patients, such as the quality, equity, and cost of care. Through financial incentives and other methods, value-based care programs aim to hold providers more accountable for improving patient outcomes while also giving them greater flexibility to deliver the right care at the right time.
Why is value-based care being tested in the U.S.?
Even though the United States spends much more of its gross domestic product on health care than other countries, it’s not getting the best results. Compared with other high-income countries, the U.S. has the highest rate of infant deaths as well as the highest rate of preventable deaths. And a history of inequality in access to care has meant that people of color and individuals with low income are more likely to experience adverse health outcomes than the rest of the population.
Experts agree that these longstanding, widespread problems stem in part from the misaligned incentives built into the nation’s traditional, fee-for-service payment model. Under fee-for-service, health care providers like physicians and hospitals are paid for each service they provide. In other words, they are rewarded for volume — they are paid more if they deliver more services, even if they don’t achieve desired results. Value-based care programs aim to change that dynamic, so physicians earn more for delivering health care that helps patients get better, while also keeping costs down.