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Prof calls for cancer care packages

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A University of Texas law professor says the government should get health care providers to team up to offer new narrow, warrantied packages of services.

The professor, William Sage, argues in a commentary in the latest Health Affairs that getting the new accountable care organizations to provide cancer care packages, heart attack care packages, or monthly subscriptions to diabetes care would help overcome the big, nebulous provider network agreements that carriers and big provider gruops now use to shut out small, low-cost providers.

Health Affairs included the commentary in a package of articles about the possible effects of health care provider integration and consolidation on health care costs.

Sage says the government should encourage the ACOs to offer quality guarantees with the new care products.

The possibility of getting a refund would give patients a strong incentive to push the ACOs to make good on their promises, Sage says.

Instead of offering physicians broad exceptions to antitrust rules, federal agencies should grant exceptions only if provider teams can show that they have reengineered care to create useful products and measured the effects of those new products on patient outcomes, Sage says.

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