In a paper published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine (2012;367:1821-1828), researchers reported on a study looking at the effect of a pay-for-performance program instituted among 24 hospitals in a region of England.

Compared with hospitals not included in the program, those that were had a significantly decreased risk of 30-day in-hospital mortality among patients admitted for pneumonia, heart failure, or acute myocardial infarction. In fiscal year 2013, Medicare will introduce pay for performance in hospitals across the United States under its Value-Based Purchasing Program.

The idea is to improve the provision of hospital in-patient acute care services. Under this program, Medicare will distribute an estimated $850 million to hospitals based on their overall performance on a set of quality measures previously linked to improved clinical processes of care and patient satisfaction, according to the website.

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