Kaiser Health News writes: Medicare’s quality incentive program for hospitals, which provides bonuses and penalties based on performance, has not led to demonstrated improvements in its first three years, according to a federal report released Thursday.
The Government Accountability Office examined the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program, one of the federal health law’s initiatives to tie payment to quality of care. Earlier this year Medicare gave bonuses to 1,700 hospitals and reduced payments to 1,360 hospitals based on their mortality rates, patient reviews, degree of improvement and other measurements.
While the payments to a majority of the nation’s hospitals have been affected each year, the audit found the financial effect has been minimal. Most hospitals saw their Medicare payments increase or drop by less than half a percentage point. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 74 percent of hospitals fell within that range, with a median bonus of $39,000 and a median penalty of $56,000, according to the analysis.
Read more: http://khn.org/news/hospital-care-unaffected-by-quality-payments-gao-finds/