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Safety-net hospitals lose more under Medicare's quality-based payments

The Washington Post, November 20, 2013

Medicare's effort to reward hospitals for quality is leaving many of the nation's safety-net hospitals poorer, a new analysis finds. Dr. Ashish K. Jha, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, has found that hospitals treating the most low-income patients on average had their payment rates reduced by 0.09 percent in the latest round of Medicare's program that rates hospitals' quality. The hospitals with the fewest low-income patients received an average bonus of 0.6 percent. Government-owned hospitals in particular fared poorly, with Medicare reducing their payment rates by 0.10 percent for a year, according to Jha's analysis, which he published Tuesday on his Harvard blog.