CMS announces rules for value-based purchasing program

Medicare has announced rules for its value-based purchasing program, mandated in the Affordable Care Act, according to Kaiser Health News.

The rules state that beginning in the last quarter of 2012, Medicare will cut payments to hospitals 1 percent and set that money aside for a bonus pool. The reductions will grow each year, until they reach 2 percent in 2016.  Hospital performance will be measured on a variety of process measures found on the Hospital Compare website, including giving anti-clotting medication to heart attack patients within 30 minutes of arrival; providing antibiotics to surgery patients just before an operation; and taking steps to avoid blood clots in surgical patients.  Thirty percent of hospital performance will be based on patient satisfaction measures. 

Hospitals that outperform their peers, or show the greatest improvement from the previous year, would earn bonus payments, totaling $850 million in the first year.

(Sources: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Project, http://kaiserhealthnews.org, May 2, 2011; Healthcare.gov, http://www.healthcare.gov, accessed May 10, 2011)