Medicare’s Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program has not accelerated the improvement of patient experience beyond previous trends, according to a study reported this week in Health Affairs. “Instead, we found that the rate of improvements in patient experience has slowed since the program was implemented,” the authors said. “Over the entire study period, certain subsets of hospitals (such as small ones) seemed to have improved in patient experience more than other subsets (such as larger hospitals), yet even for the institutions that had greater improvement, the majority of the change occurred before implementation of the VBP program.” The study examined trends in multiple measures of patient satisfaction between 2008 and 2014. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began publicly reporting on patient-reported experience through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey in 2008, and tied Medicare payments directly to these measures through the VBP program in 2011. The authors said the study “adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that U.S. pay-for-performance schemes have had little to no effect on driving meaningful improvements in other patient outcomes.”

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