Pay-for-Performance: What Is It Good For?

Posted by Marilyn Hoare on May 28, 2015

Calculating profit for AE projects

With recent and ongoing changes to government reimbursement programs in the healthcare industry, organizations are faced with new challenges in the talent management arena. Whether you believe the move to a “pay-for-performance” initiative in healthcare is a wise move or not, there is no avoiding the implications of the program. Essentially, the change in regulations and guidelines are intended to use payment incentives to reward quality and quality improvement; particularly in high-cost conditions. This, as you can imagine, requires a greater level of tracking and reporting on the part of healthcare providers in order to qualify for the bonus.

How does this impact Talent Management, you might ask? Consider that the pay-for-performance quality measures generally fall into the four categories (according to HealthAffairs.org) of process, outcome, patient experience, and structure. Process requires a measurement of performance, outcome requires a measurement of the effects, patient experience requires a measurement of the patients’ perception, and structure requires a measurement of the facilities, personnel, equipment, etc. To measure all of these areas, performance appraisals and 360 feedback can be used.

So, you have your measures and you can submit your reports for bonuses. Ok, that’s great … then what? Or, what if you didn’t meet the requirements? Then what? In both cases, you need to take your assessment results, go a step further, and leverage the rest of your talent management suite. Not only can the performance assessments provide you with the reports you need to submit for payment, but they can also help you identify where there may be gaps. Once you have identified the gaps, use Learning Management, Career Development, and Development Plans to address any deficiencies. Not only that, but by using these tools you can ensure consistency in the material and resources you are delivering to your workforce.

However, don’t stop here. Take your program even further and use your data and resources to forecast your future needs. Be aware of your current bench strength in terms of competencies, skills, and certifications and be prepared to fill upcoming requirements. Plan ahead on how long it will take to train your workforce in areas where you may be falling short or where you may need to ensure certifications are renewed on time.

Lastly, feed the fire. Motivate your people with mentoring programs and development opportunities. Simply offering courses, training, and resources so that reporting requirements are met is not enough to truly succeed. Especially if you look to the measure based on patient experience; think about how an employee’s motivation and passion can impact the patients’ perspective. Further consider how much more motivated and impassioned that employee might be if they know you are truly invested in their personal success within your organization. This is the proverbial win-win situation. The better equipped and the more motivated the employee is to perform their duties, the better they perform and have a positive impact on your bottom line. On the flip side, the better equipped and more motivated the employee is has a direct impact on their personal job satisfaction.

Ultimately, change is inevitable. Whether we support the pay-for-performance strategy or not, we must find ways to meet the challenges it poses. So why not take this opportunity to not only track, measure, assess, deliver resources, analyze and report … but also use it to help foster the community of cooperation, feedback, support, teamwork, and motivation.