What We're Reading: Low-Quality Hospitals Receive Medicare Bonuses

What we're reading, May 3, 2016: low-quality, low-cost hospitals received bonuses from Medicare; Brigham and Women's Hospital is publicizing its mistakes; and Tenet expects other insurers will fill the void when UnitedHealth leaves the exchanges.

More than 200 hospitals with subpar quality received bonuses from Medicare because they had cheaper costs. Kaiser Health News reported that these hospitals were awarded the bonuses because their patients were less expensive and thus cost Medicare less than. CMS uses death and infection rates and patient surveys to judge hospitals but began measuring cost to encourage efficient care. Researchers found that high-quality, low-spending hospitals received the most financial benefit under the program.

Meanwhile, Brigham and Women’s Hospital has decided to discuss its mistakes in a new blog. Safety Matters will describe the mistakes made and the ways the hospital will prevent them from happening again in the future, according to STAT. The hospital is going public with its mistakes in order to demonstrate its commitment to transparency and continued improvement and to be a resource for other hospitals that are likely experiencing similar errors.

While UnitedHealth is expected to exit most of the 34 state exchanges it is currently participating in, competitors will fill the void left behind. Tenet Healthcare Corp’s senior vice president of public affairs told Reuters that other insurers will step in to pick up the business UnitedHealth is leaving behind. Tenet’s hospitals have seen an increase in business as the insurer ensured its hospitals are included as in-network choices.

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