New Medicaid RCOs Raise Antitrust Issues for All Participating Health Care Providers
Physicians and other health care providers who were practicing in the 1990s were involved in numerous attempts to organize themselves in order to be able to participate in and even financially survive the onslaught of managed care delivery systems. The new systems were attempting to shift the risk of increasing costs from insurance carriers to the providers themselves. The logic was that if physicians were costing themselves money by ordering more tests, performing more expensive procedures, or hospitalizing patients, they would be incentivized to practice medicine more conservatively.
This idea caught on and Health Maintenance Organizations ("HMOs") began developing different methods of putting providers at risk. Many sought to simply reduce fees paid for procedures, others tried to directly capitate physicians and other providers by paying them a flat fee per month for either their own medical care to the HMO subscribers. Some experimented by paying physicians more, but making the physicians liable for all of the care provided by physicians in other specialties who received the subscriber on referral.
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