The hospital value-based purchasing program will reward hospitals for improving patients' experiences of care, while making care safer by reducing medical mistakes."
Senior Associate Directors for Policy for the American Hospital Association, Beth Feldpush and Joanna Kim, say that while their organization supports the guidelines, one element sticks out they believe unfairly penalizes hospitals.
Under the proposal, hospital-acquired conditions are included in the algorithm that would result in financial penalties to a hospital that had higher percentages. That's a problem because another section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also includes specific financial penalties for hospitals with higher rates of hospital-acquired infections.
"We were surprised to see HAI in the value based purchasing rules, and this is something the AHA will be strongly opposing," Feldpush says. If this is allowed to stand, "hospitals will be at risk for double jeopardy, with financial penalties imposed twice on the same set of measures."
Kim and Feldpush say the AHA is studying other parts of the proposal in order to give a more detailed response. So far, they say, "There's a lot in here that we really do like," and that these financial incentives, "will lift all boats."
Hospitals will learn what their value-based incentive payment will be for FY 2013 "at least 60 days prior to Oct. 1, 2012," CMS said. The period of evaluation begins this July 1 and lasts until March 31, 2012.