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      Public Reporting and Pay for Performance in Hospital Quality Improvement

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          Abstract

          Public reporting and pay for performance are intended to accelerate improvements in hospital care, yet little is known about the benefits of these methods of providing incentives for improving care. We measured changes in adherence to 10 individual and 4 composite measures of quality over a period of 2 years at 613 hospitals that voluntarily reported information about the quality of care through a national public-reporting initiative, including 207 facilities that simultaneously participated in a pay-for-performance demonstration project funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; we then compared the pay-for-performance hospitals with the 406 hospitals with public reporting only (control hospitals). We used multivariable modeling to estimate the improvement attributable to financial incentives after adjusting for baseline performance and other hospital characteristics. As compared with the control group, pay-for-performance hospitals showed greater improvement in all composite measures of quality, including measures of care for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, and pneumonia and a composite of 10 measures. Baseline performance was inversely associated with improvement; in pay-for-performance hospitals, the improvement in the composite of all 10 measures was 16.1% for hospitals in the lowest quintile of baseline performance and 1.9% for those in the highest quintile (P<0.001). After adjustments were made for differences in baseline performance and other hospital characteristics, pay for performance was associated with improvements ranging from 2.6 to 4.1% over the 2-year period. Hospitals engaged in both public reporting and pay for performance achieved modestly greater improvements in quality than did hospitals engaged only in public reporting. Additional research is required to determine whether different incentives would stimulate more improvement and whether the benefits of these programs outweigh their costs. 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society

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          Most cited references 23

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          The quality of health care delivered to adults in the United States.

          We have little systematic information about the extent to which standard processes involved in health care--a key element of quality--are delivered in the United States. We telephoned a random sample of adults living in 12 metropolitan areas in the United States and asked them about selected health care experiences. We also received written consent to copy their medical records for the most recent two-year period and used this information to evaluate performance on 439 indicators of quality of care for 30 acute and chronic conditions as well as preventive care. We then constructed aggregate scores. Participants received 54.9 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 54.3 to 55.5) of recommended care. We found little difference among the proportion of recommended preventive care provided (54.9 percent), the proportion of recommended acute care provided (53.5 percent), and the proportion of recommended care provided for chronic conditions (56.1 percent). Among different medical functions, adherence to the processes involved in care ranged from 52.2 percent for screening to 58.5 percent for follow-up care. Quality varied substantially according to the particular medical condition, ranging from 78.7 percent of recommended care (95 percent confidence interval, 73.3 to 84.2) for senile cataract to 10.5 percent of recommended care (95 percent confidence interval, 6.8 to 14.6) for alcohol dependence. The deficits we have identified in adherence to recommended processes for basic care pose serious threats to the health of the American public. Strategies to reduce these deficits in care are warranted. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Excess length of stay, charges, and mortality attributable to medical injuries during hospitalization.

            Although medical injuries are recognized as a major hazard in the health care system, little is known about their impact. To assess excess length of stay, charges, and deaths attributable to medical injuries during hospitalization. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) were used to identify medical injuries in 7.45 million hospital discharge abstracts from 994 acute-care hospitals across 28 states in 2000 in the AHRQ Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample database. Length of stay, charges, and mortality that were recorded in hospital discharge abstracts and were attributable to medical injuries according to 18 PSIs. Excess length of stay attributable to medical injuries ranged from 0 days for injury to a neonate to 10.89 days for postoperative sepsis, excess charges ranged from 0 dollar for obstetric trauma (without vaginal instrumentation) to 57 727 dollars for postoperative sepsis, and excess mortality ranged from 0% for obstetric trauma to 21.96% for postoperative sepsis (P<.001). Following postoperative sepsis, the second most serious event was postoperative wound dehiscence, with 9.42 extra days in the hospital, 40 323 dollars in excess charges, and 9.63% attributable mortality. Infection due to medical care was associated with 9.58 extra days, 38 656 dollars in excess charges, and 4.31% attributable mortality. Some injuries incurred during hospitalization pose a significant threat to patients and costs to society, but the impact of such injury is highly variable.
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              Early experience with pay-for-performance: from concept to practice.

              The adoption of pay-for-performance mechanisms for quality improvement is growing rapidly. Although there is intense interest in and optimism about pay-for-performance programs, there is little published research on pay-for-performance in health care. To evaluate the impact of a prototypical physician pay-for-performance program on quality of care. We evaluated a natural experiment with pay-for-performance using administrative reports of physician group quality from a large health plan for an intervention group (California physician groups) and a contemporaneous comparison group (Pacific Northwest physician groups). Quality improvement reports were included from October 2001 through April 2004 issued to approximately 300 large physician organizations. Three process measures of clinical quality: cervical cancer screening, mammography, and hemoglobin A1c testing. Improvements in clinical quality scores were as follows: for cervical cancer screening, 5.3% for California vs 1.7% for Pacific Northwest; for mammography, 1.9% vs 0.2%; and for hemoglobin A1c, 2.1% vs 2.1%. Compared with physician groups in the Pacific Northwest, the California network demonstrated greater quality improvement after the pay-for-performance intervention only in cervical cancer screening (a 3.6% difference in improvement [P = .02]). In total, the plan awarded 3.4 million dollars (27% of the amount set aside) in bonus payments between July 2003 and April 2004, the first year of the program. For all 3 measures, physician groups with baseline performance at or above the performance threshold for receipt of a bonus improved the least but garnered the largest share of the bonus payments. Paying clinicians to reach a common, fixed performance target may produce little gain in quality for the money spent and will largely reward those with higher performance at baseline.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                February 2007
                February 2007
                : 356
                : 5
                : 486-496
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMsa064964
                17259444
                © 2007
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