Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Medicare Reforms Linking Reimbursement Rates with Hospital Performance

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Feb• 23•12

Health reform not only changes the health care market for the demand side (e.g., patients, insurers), but also for the supply side (e.g., hospitals, physicians).  In the Medicare setting, a number of initiatives have aimed to pay providers who provide high-quality or low-cost care more money, and pay providers who provide low-quality or high-cost care less money.  CSC provides a nice overview of some of these initiatives.

  • Performance Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) — Offers increased update to diagnosis-related group (DRG) payment rates to hospitals according to demonstration of performance or improvement in designated performance areas relative to performance standards and benchmarks.
  • Shared Savings Program — For groups of providers who form an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), potentially shares a portion of financial savings in caring for Medicare patients if performance standards are met, according to performance rated on a sliding scale against benchmarks.
  • Readmission Reduction Program (RRP) — Decreases annual adjustments to DRG payment rates for hospitals that are in the lowest performance quartile for excess readmissions of Medicare patients with selected discharge diagnoses.
  • HAC Payment Limitation — Decreases annual adjustments to DRG payment rates for hospitals that are in the lowest performance quartile for a designated set of Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs).
  • Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative — One of several initiatives of the CMS Innovation Center to give doctors and hospitals new incentives to coordinate care, improve the quality of care and save money for Medicare. Bundle care for a package of services patients receive to treat a specific medical condition during a single hospital stay and/or recovery from that stay. Applicants pick conditions to target and one of four ways to define the extent of pre- and post-hospital care included in the bundled payment.

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