Medicare’s 7-year-old public reporting initiative for hospitals had no impact on reducing death rates for two key health conditions and only a modest effect on a third, according to a study (Medicare’s Public Reporting Initiative On Hospital Quality Had Modest Or No Impact On Mortality From Three Key Conditions). The findings raise questions about the ability of the initiative, Hospital Compare, to improve the quality of care provided by the nation’s hospitals, according to a news release from Health Affairs, which published the study in its March issue.
The authors used Medicare claims data from the period 2000–08 to estimate the effect of Hospital Compare on thirty-day mortality for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. Their analysis indicates that the fact that hospitals had to report quality data under Hospital Compare led to no reductions in mortality beyond existing trends for heart attack and pneumonia and led to a modest reduction in mortality for heart failure. They conclude that Medicare’s public reporting initiative for hospitals has had a minimal impact on patient mortality.