Study: Medicare 'Pay-For-Performance' Could Increase Care Inequality

Reuters: "The U.S. government's plan to base Medicare payments to hospitals on certain quality-of-care measures could end up transferring funds away from hospitals in the nation's poorest, underserved areas," according to a study published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine. "Pay-for-performance reimbursement plans essentially reward hospitals and doctors for meeting certain treatment goals established in medical guidelines. For example, guidelines state that heart attack patients should be given aspirin and drugs called beta-blockers when they are admitted to and discharged from the hospital; centers that better meet that goal would get greater reimbursements. … But concerns have been raised about the fairness of such a system, since it assumes that all hospitals have the resources they need to meet clinical performance measures" (Amy Norton, 6/29).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.