KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

KHN Analyzes Regional Variations In Medicare Quality Payment Program

Fort Wayne, Ind., fared the best among the major health care markets, the analysis finds. Meanwhile, a new study of a plan to tie Medicare's payments to the quality of doctors' services suggests many physicians may face penalties.

Kaiser Health News: A Regional Analysis Of Which Hospital Got Rewards, Penalties Based On Quality
In Medicare's new program that ties about $1 billion in payments to quality of care, hospitals in Fort Wayne, Ind., are faring the best on average while hospitals in Washington, D.C., are doing the worst, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the country's 212 major health care markets (Rau, 1/9).

The Hill: Study: Most Medicare Docs Set To Face Performance Penalties
More than 80 percent of Medicare providers will face penalties for failing to meet quality thresholds if current performance trends continue, according to a new study. The Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute found Tuesday that fewer than one in five Medicare providers meet the program's Physician Quality Report System (PQRS) standards and are eligible for related bonus payments. This point spells trouble for Medicare providers as the bonus program is converted to penalties for failing to meet PQRS requirements this year, researchers wrote (Viebeck, 1/8).

And in another study --

Modern Healthcare: EHR Tech Help, Quality Gains Linked: Study
High-intensity technical assistance might be key to realizing quality gains from the use of electronic health-record systems among small-practice doctors and those practicing in underserved areas, a new study suggests. The study, published in Health Affairs and undertaken by researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College and the Primary Care Information Project of the New York City Health Department, found that EHR implementation alone was not enough to improve the quality of care provided by the primary-care physicians studied, who worked in small practices in underserved neighborhoods in New York. Physicians receiving assistance from the Primary Care Information Project scored higher on selected quality measures than physicians not receiving the assistance. The Primary Care Information Project provided subsidized EHR software, clinical-decision support and onsite technical assistance to about 3,300 physicians at roughly 600 primary-care practices, according to a Weill Cornell news release (Barr, 1/8).

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