Health Care Reform: Will Quality Remodeling Affect Obstetrician–Gynecologists in Addition to Patients?

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a federal statute that attempts to address many fundamental problems with the current health care system including the uninsured, rising health care costs, and quality care. Quality metrics have been in development for years (by private and governmental sectors), and momentum is growing. The purpose of this commentary is to explore quality changes in the way practicing obstetricians and gynecologists will be held accountable for quality service. Two new options being explored for health care, both focusing on improving quality and physician metrics, include value-based purchasing and accountable-care organizations. Both will likely consist of universal clinical algorithms and cost monitoring as measures. For obstetrics this will probably include physician's rates of cesarean deliveries and elective inductions. For gynecology this may comprise of indications for hysterectomy with documented failed medical management, minor surgical management, or both medical and minor surgical management. It is anticipated patients will no longer be able to request obstetric testing, pregnancy induction, or hysterectomy. It is imperative we, as obstetrician–gynecologists, are involved in health care reform that inevitably involves the care of women. The expectation is that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) will further develop evidenced-based opinions and guidelines, as medical communities embrace ACOG documents and reference these in hospital policies and peer review.

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