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Health Aff (Millwood). 2014 Aug;33(8):1314-22. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0138.

California safety-net hospitals likely to be penalized by ACA value, readmission, and meaningful-use programs.

Author information

1
Matlin Gilman is a research assistant in the Department of Health Policy and Management Rollins School of Public Health, at Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia.
2
E. Kathleen Adams is a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health.
3
Jason M. Hockenberry is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, and a faculty research fellow in the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
4
Ira B. Wilson is a professor of community health at the Brown University School of Public Health, in Providence, Rhode Island.
5
Arnold S. Milstein is director of the Clinical Excellence Research Center and a professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, in California.
6
Edmund R. Becker (ebeck01@sph.emory.edu) is a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health.

Abstract

The Affordable Care Act includes provisions to increase the value obtained from health care spending. A growing concern among health policy experts is that new Medicare policies designed to improve the quality and efficiency of hospital care, such as value-based purchasing (VBP), the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), and electronic health record (EHR) meaningful-use criteria, will disproportionately affect safety-net hospitals, which are already facing reduced disproportionate-share hospital (DSH) payments under both Medicare and Medicaid. We examined hospitals in California to determine whether safety-net institutions were more likely than others to incur penalties under these programs. To assess quality, we also examined whether mortality outcomes were different at these hospitals. Our study found that compared to non-safety-net hospitals, safety-net institutions had lower thirty-day risk-adjusted mortality rates in the period 2009-11 for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia and marginally lower adjusted Medicare costs. Nonetheless, safety-net hospitals were more likely than others to be penalized under the VBP program and the HRRP and more likely not to meet EHR meaningful-use criteria. The combined effects of Medicare value-based payment policies on the financial viability of safety-net hospitals need to be considered along with DSH payment cuts as national policy makers further incorporate performance measures into the overall payment system.

KEYWORDS:

Financing Health Care; Health Reform; Hospitals; Medicaid; Medicare

PMID:
25092831
DOI:
10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0138
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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