Neuro-Ophthalmology: Transitioning From Old to New Models of Health Care Delivery

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Abstract

In contradiction to fundamental laws of supply and demand, 2 decades of payment policies have led to some medical specialties experiencing declines in both manpower and reimbursement. This paradox has resulted in increasingly long wait times to see some specialists, some specialties becoming less attractive to potential trainees, and a dearth of new trainees entering these fields. Evolving models of health care delivery hold the promise of increasing patient access to most providers and may diminish costs and improve outcomes for most patients/conditions. However, patients who need care in understaffed fields may, in the future, be unable to quickly access a specialist with the requisite expertise. Impeding the sickest and most complex patients from seeing physicians with appropriate expertise may lead to increased costs and deleterious outcomes—consequences contrary to the goals of health care reform. To ensure appropriate access for these patients requires 2 conditions: 1. Compensation models that do not discourage trainees from pursuing nonprocedural specialties, and 2. A care delivery model that expediently identifies and routes these patients to the appropriate specialist.

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