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Doctors treating kidney disease, cancer, and heart problems are experimenting with new ways of getting paid, and it could be the future of specialty care

Man in hospital bed looks at phone

1. Some types of medical specialists are starting to take a financial stake in their patients’ care.
2. They’re entering contracts where they get fixed fees up front instead of billing for every service.
3. Industry experts say it can lead to lower costs and better experiences for Americans.

Dr. Dylan Steer has cared for enough patients with kidney disease to know that the best approach to treatment is a proactive one. Death rates for patients on dialysis are staggering, so San Diego’s Balboa Nephrology Medical Group, where Steer is the president of value-based care, aims to provide comprehensive, coordinated care that keeps patients from worsening and needing dialysis.

That’s hard to do in the US healthcare system, where doctors are typically paid to treat illness — not to prevent it.

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