The pay-for-performance program run in conjunction with Charlotte, N.C.-based Premier and the CMS once again faces scrutiny as a new study says lower-performing hospitals enrolled in the initiative are seeing little in terms of quality improvement.
The study, appearing in April's Health Affairs, concludes that the CMS/Premier Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration, rolled out in 2003, had little effect on the improvement of hospitals with low-initial performance on quality measures. Lower-performing providers, in fact, improved at the same rate as other providers, researchers said.
“Our findings raise questions about whether pay-for-performance strategies that reward improvement can generate greater improvement among lower-performing providers,” the study read. “They also cast some doubt on the extent to which hospitals respond to the specific structure of economic incentives in pay-for-performance programs.”
The Premier initiative serves as the basis for CMS' value-based purchasing program, which is scheduled for a fiscal 2013 launch nationwide. The program includes more than 250 hospitals, paying out performance-based incentives based on improvement in six categories, including heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia.