Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA) yesterday issued a discussion draft of legislation that would begin a Medicare value-based purchasing program for inpatient hospital care in fiscal year 2012.
The draft legislation would increase or decrease Medicare payments depending on how much a hospital improved annually or how frequently it met certain quality measures chosen by the Health and Human Services secretary. The secretary is encouraged but not required to choose measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum and adopted by the Hospital Quality Alliance, beginning with measures for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care and overall patient experience. The program would be budget neutral, using decreased payments to some hospitals to pay for increased payments to others. The total payment adjustment would grow from 1% in FY 2012 to 2% by FY 2016.
(SOURCE: AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com, November 20, 2008)