The PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer has featured the Billings Clinic
as an example of how high quality health care can be provided at relatively low cost.
a special segment of the program, aired August 12, health correspondent
Betty Ann Bowser visits the clinic, in Billings, Montana, and talks to
doctors about the clinic's model of integrated patient care and
clinic's participation in a Medicare project designed to reduce costs
and improve patient outcomes. The segment opens with President Obama
citing the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic as examples of providers
of high quality and lower cost care, and asks the question: what are
they doing that's different?
Billings, which is modeled after
the Mayo Clinic, is introduced as another facility that is doing
differently, and better. With 3,500 employees, it is the largest
multi-specialty medical group practice in the state, and treats 148,000
patients annually at a dozen locations. Physicians at Billings, even the
high end specialists, are employees who are paid a salary, rather than
working as independent contractors. Dr. Doug Carr, medical director,
says that means doctors are paid for what they do forpatients, without
regard to the type of insurance reimbursement the patient has or the
number of tests ordered.
Two years into the Medicare project,
the average annual expenditure per Medicare patient at Billings is
$6,332, well below the national average of $8,304. Dr. Carr says
coordinated care, including the benefits of a telemedicine program for
patients at a distance, saved $1.5million in avoided
hospitalizations.The Billings Clinic
was a beta site hospital in the Positive Deviance (PD) Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA) Prevention Partnership, spearheaded by Plexus Institute and
funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Nicholas Wolter, MD, the
CEO of Billings Clinic, was one of the founders of Plexus Institute. From Invisible to Visible: Learning to See and Stop MRSA at Billings Clinic
, the story of how the Billings Clinic used PD to reduce MRSA infections by 84 percent, is available at the Plexus Institute
website in the e-library.