Hospitals that participate in the industry's voluntary quality initiative with the CMS would receive a full inflation update from Medicare in 2004 and the following three years, under a plan being considered by Medicare reform negotiators. Hospitals that do not participate in the initiative would receive an update 0.4 percentage points below inflation. Under the quality initiative, hospitals report data on 10 measures of quality of care for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia. The program was launched last December by the Association of American Medical Colleges, American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals. Disappointed with participation in the first round of data collection, CMS Administrator Tom Scully recently threatened to make participation in the program mandatory. An AHA official said the proposal to tie participation to a full-inflation update was a positive development. -- by Jeff Tieman
Medicare plan may link hospital update, quality initiative
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