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GAO: Hospitals with low quality scores still got federal bonuses

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The Government Accountability Office reports that while the Feds’ value-based purchasing program was created to financially reward hospitals that provide high-quality care at a lower cost, some hospitals with low quality scores still received bonuses because they had high efficiency scores.

Thus the GAO questions the methodology that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services uses to determine bonuses and penalties.

The report’s writers found, perhaps not unexpectedly, that “safety-net hospitals,” which have a high-proportion of low-income patients, generally scored lower in quality compared to participating hospitals in general.  However, small and/or rural urban hospitals with 100 or fewer acute-care beds scored higher on efficiency compared to hospitals in general.

Small hospitals were more likely to get a bonus compared to participating hospitals in general but safety-net hospitals were more likely to be financially penalized.

To ensure that lower-quality hospitals don’t receive bonuses in the future, the GAO recommended that, among other things, CMS revise its methodology for calculating  total performance scores.

To read the GAO report, please hit this link.

To read a FierceHealthcare story on this, please hit this link.


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