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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Michigan: Federal Program That Punishes Hospitals May Not Improve Patient Outcomes

A national program that penalizes health care institutions with high rates of hospital-acquired conditions does not improve patient safety, according to a University of Michigan study.

The research was conducted at the state level but raises questions about the program’s effectiveness at the national level.

“The current policy might not be designed in a way that is effectively reducing rates of hospital-acquired conditions. Our study questions whether this program should exist at all,” said Dr. Andrew Ryan, professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and senior author of the study published in the November issue of Health Affairs.

In 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced they would start penalizing hospitals with the highest hospital-acquired conditions, such as postoperative sepsis, deep vein thrombosis, surgical site infection and postoperative pneumonia.

The study found that patients experienced hospital-acquired conditions at a rate of 133 per 1,000 discharges before implementation of the program, and 122 per 1,000 discharges after the program. While there was a decrease, the policy was not associated with a significant change in the decline of hospital-acquired conditions, Dr. Ryan said.

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