Are teaching hospitals treated fairly in the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program?
The Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program (HACRP) was established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and withholds payment to hospitals for several hospital-acquired conditions deemed to be preventable sources of patient harm. Prior research has shown that teaching hospitals, hospitals caring for more complicated and high-risk patients, and safety-net hospitals may be more likely to experience financial penalties under HACRP compared to nonteaching hospitals caring for less sick patients. These findings raised concerns regarding the possible unintended consequences related to pay-for-performance. Researchers sought to identify factors associated with HACRP performance and penalties. They found that teaching institutions and hospitals with higher case-mix index, length of stay, and those located in the Northeast or Western United States were more likely to receive penalties under the CMS program. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed the unintended consequences associated with publicly reported health care quality measures.