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Medicare's prospective payment system: a critical appraisal.


Implementation of the Medicare prospective payment system (PPS) for hospital payment has produced major changes in the hospital industry and in the way hospital services are used by physicians and their patients. The substantial published literature that examines these changes is reviewed in this article. This literature suggests that most of the intended effects of PPS on costs and intensity of care have been realized. But the literature fails to answer fundamental questions about the effectiveness and equity of administered pricing as a policy tool for cost containment. The literature offers some hope that the worst fears about the effects of PPS on quality of care and the health of the hospital industry have not materialized. But because of data lags, the studies done to date seem to tell us more about the effects of the early, more generous period of PPS than about the opportunity costs of reducing hospital cost inflation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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