Noteworthy News

Medicare Value-Based Purchasing Program Launches Today

With the start of the new federal fiscal year, Medicare today launches its value-based purchasing program.

Under the program, Medicare will withhold one percent of its payments to hospitals and then, depending on their performance under a defined set of performance standards and patient satisfaction surveys, it will keep the one percent as a penalty, return some or all of it, or pay hospitals a little extra.

In a June 25 letter to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers Medicare, the National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) expressed strong reservations about the value-based purchasing program, writing that it is not sufficiently risk-adjusted to reflect the distinct challenges that urban safety-net hospitals face.  The letter noted that the program

does not recognize the additional medical challenges these patients pose; it does not recognize the follow-up and after-care challenges these patients pose; and it does not recognize the stark reality that people living in poverty with limited access to care are fundamentally harder to treat than the typical Medicare beneficiary.

Because of these shortcomings, NAUH added,

the value-based purchasing program will harm urban safety-net hospitals by penalizing them financially for factors often well beyond their control…

The NAUH letter, with these and other observations about Medicare’s value-based purchasing program, can be found here.

Read more about the new program and see a list of the performance measures on which hospitals will be judged in this Kaiser Health News articleiStock_000014445371XSmall.

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