CHA News Article

GAO Report Examines Hospital Value-Based Purchasing

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report evaluating the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (HVBP) program, including its effect on Medicare payments to hospitals, quality of care provided by hospitals and the selected hospitals’ quality improvement efforts. GAO found that, among the estimated 3,000 hospitals eligible for the HVBP program, bonuses and penalties related to the program amounted to less than 0.5 percent of applicable Medicare payments each year. The report also found no significant change in hospitals’ performance on the quality measures, but it notes that trends in performance may emerge as the program evolves.

In addition, GAO reports that safety net hospitals received lower median payment adjustments (smaller bonuses and larger penalties) than hospitals overall in the program’s first three years, but that the gap narrowed over time. Small urban hospitals had higher median payment adjustments each year than hospitals overall, while small rural hospitals’ median payment adjustments were similar to hospitals overall in the first two years and higher in the most recent year.