Medicare Pilot Project Links Hospital Payments To Quality

Data to be released today examines a pilot project by Medicare that links hospital payments to the quality of care. Wall Street Journal reports the project "has helped prevent infections in pneumonia patients and cut death rates in heart-attack patients. ... In the project, hospitals compete for cash incentives from Medicare, the government insurance program for the elderly and disabled. Medicare officials are expected to announce that 225 hospitals will divide $12 million in bonuses; three poor performers will be penalized. Some lawmakers see the experiment, which began in 2003, as a model as they debate ways to overhaul the nation's health-care system."

The Journal notes: "The lesson is that 'financial incentives can increase quality of care,' said Tim Love, director of the research office at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services" (Zhang, 8/17).

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