Financial Incentives Bolster Hospitals’ Care for Poor

February 1, 2011 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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Hospitals that serve a higher percentage of low-income patients tend to have lower quality performance than hospitals that serve a smaller percentage of these patients. Financial incentives, however, can allow these hospitals to match or even outperform others that care for fewer underprivileged patients, report researchers in the September 7, 2010, Annals of Internal Medicine (Jha et al.). The authors state that in the study, incentives did not widen the gap in quality of care between hospitals that care for more low-income patients and those that care for fewer.

Researchers retrospectively examined data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration, which was intended to evaluate the feasibility of pay for performance in a hospital setting. Patients' financial states were...

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