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Study Finds Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program Not Associated With Additional Patient Safety Improvement

In 2013 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it would begin levying penalties against hospitals with the highest rates of hospital-acquired conditions through the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program. A study published in the November edition of Health Affairs sought to establish if the program has been successful in improving patient safety, there has been no prior independent evaluation. Clinical registry data on rates of hospital-acquired conditions in 2010–18 from a large surgical collaborative in Michigan was used to estimate the impact of the policy. Researchers found that while rates of all such conditions declined from 133.4 per 1,000 discharges in the pre-program period to 122.2 in the post-program period, greater improvements were observed for nontargeted measures. Researchers concluded that the program did not improve patient safety in Michigan beyond existing trends. These findings raise questions about whether the program will lead to improvements in patient safety as intended.

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