Study finds that Massachusetts P4P incentives to reduce disparities not adequate

A study in Health Affairs has found that Massachusetts’ attempt to use pay-for-performance incentives to reduce health care disparities has raised questions about whether the payment model is adequate for reducing hospital care disparities.

The study examined the 2006 initiative in Massachusetts which attempted to use P4P to reduce health care inequality.  Key findings from the study:

  • Researchers found that the clinical conditions tracked in the pay-for- performance program did not bring to light any significant racial and ethnic disparities in hospital care
  • The hospitals' patient population was not sufficiently diverse to allow the approach to succeed in its goals of finding and narrowing gaps in care among the disadvantaged

(Sources: Health Affairs, http://content.healthaffairs.org/, June, 2011; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, June 10, 2011; NYU Press Release, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-06/nyu-php060711.php, June 9, 2011)