NPR - "How Perverse Incentives Drive Up Health Care Costs"

 – January 16, 2014  –– 

Medical treatment in the emergency room is expensive, but there's a perverse incentive at work which encourages EMS workers to send more people there. Medicare reimburses for 911 calls only if the patient is transported to the ER. A pilot program at The Mount Sinai Hospital tries to keep patients from coming back to the ER.  Kevin Munjal, MD, who heads up the emergency medical service at The Mount Sinai Hospital, is totally obsessed with helping bring down the costs of healthcare.  “The way we practice medicine is so often affected by the incentives that are created in the system, and the incentives are often about what does get reimbursed, and what doesn’t get reimbursed,” said Dr. Munjal, who says that he hopes EMT’s can make more decisions about bringing patients to a more appropriate place, such as their primary care physician or a dialysis center rather than to the E.D. Learn more