Pay-for-performance works, says CMS

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Healthcare provider pay-for-performance can increase clinical quality and save lives, according to the first year of official data from a national project involving more than 260 hospitals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will pay $8.85 million in incentives to the top-performing hospitals in the project, which is managed by Premier Inc.
       
Data from the first year of CMS/Premier Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID), validated by CMS and reported publicly this week, demonstrate a significant improvement in the quality of care across five clinical focus areas as measured by 33 nationally standardized and widely accepted quality indicators. The average improvement across the clinical areas was 6.6 percent. These performance gains have outpaced those of hospitals involved in other national performance initiatives.  Approximately 235 heart attack patients were saved as a result of quality improvements in that related focus area alone.
       
Medicare is awarding $8.85 million to hospitals that achieved the highest levels of performance at the end of the first year of the project. This is the first time that Medicare has awarded monetary bonuses to healthcare providers in a pay-for-performance demonstration.
       
"The ultimate goal of the HQID is to determine whether pay for performance impacts the quality of care in our nation's hospitals," said Richard Norling, president and chief executive officer of Premier Inc. "Findings from the first year of this project clearly indicate that it does."