Using harm-based weights for the AHRQ Patient Safety for Selected Indicators composite (PSI-90): does it affect assessment of hospital performance and financial penalties in Veterans Health Administration hospitals?
The AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) use hospitals' administrative data to measure quality and carry financial consequences for hospitals as part of pay-for-performance initiatives. Prior research has raised concerns about the validity of PSIs compared with directly using clinical data to identify safety events. AHRQ recently restructured PSI-90 (a composite measure containing multiple distinct PSIs) from volume-based to harm-based weighting. Using data from 132 Veterans Health Administration hospitals, this retrospective study compared hospital performance using the previous PSI-90 with performance under the redesigned measure. Although there was strong association between the volume-based and harm-based PSI-90 measures, use of the harm-based version had a significant impact on pay-for-performance because of changes in the weights of the component measures. Approximately 15% of hospitals in the study would face changes in financial penalties under the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program when using the new PSI-90. A past PSNet perspective discussed the impact of pay-for-performance.