Medicare's "Hospital Value-Based Purchasing" Program Under ACA Misses It's Mark

The study, published in the journal Health Service Research, found that the timing of the financial incentives offered by the program was not associated with improved quality of care.

One of Medicare’s attempts to improve medical quality —by rewarding or penalizing hospitals — did not lead to improvements in the first nine months of the program, a study has found.

The quality program, known as Hospital Value-Based Purchasing, is a pillar of the federal health law’s campaign to use the government’s financial muscle to improve patient care. Since late 2012, Medicare has been giving small increases or decreases in payments to nearly 3,000 hospitals based on how patients rated their experiences and how faithfully hospitals followed a dozen basic standards of care, such as taking blood cultures of pneumonia patients before administering antibiotics. As much as 1 percent of their Medicare payments were at stake in the first year and 1.25 percent this year, though most hospitals gained or lost a fraction of that. Hospitals were judged both on how they compare to others and how much they are improving.

The program is one of several payment initiatives instituted by the health law. Others include penalties for hospitals that have high rates of Medicare patients readmitted within 30 days and penalties that will go into effect this fall for hospitals with high rates of patient injuries or infections.

Read the report here: http://bit.ly/1sSbWnG

Source: Kaiser Health News

Link to the study: http://bit.ly/1AveyJl

Source: Wiley Online Library