New rules about Medicare reimbursement are influencing ED care
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
A new study released by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine indicates that certain healthcare reform policies are driving improvements to the medical care provided by hospitals' emergency departments. This research may influence physicians who choose emergency medicine careers.
The study authors reviewed data collected from nearly 3,000 hospitals across the U.S. The information included performance scores in the treatment of conditions such as stroke, heart attack and pneumonia.
Results showed that for-profit hospitals were doing a better job than public or non-profit hospitals. This is important in light of provisions in the Affordable Care Act that add to or penalize hospitals' Medicare payments based on quality measures.
"Hospitals owned by for-profits are hitting their quality markers frequently and, therefore, will fare well under the program," said Rahul Khare, MD, co-author of the study that appears in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. "And though nonprofit and public hospitals scored lower on quality, many won't lose out because they are improving."
The ACA's Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program went into effect in October 2013. It uses Medicare payment adjustments to encourage improvements in patient care and decreases in hospital readmissions. Healthcare providers will need to be more conscientious about factors such as time efficiency in treating heart attack patients' arteries, effective prevention of blood clots after surgery and distribution of thorough hospital discharge instructions for patients.