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Mixed results for hospital pay-for-performance initiatives

Federal health care reforms are trying to cut costs and improve quality—two objectives that are often at odds. Policy makers hope that strategies like changing how providers are paid can balance cost and quality. But studies of current programs like pay-for-performance initiatives show mixed results in cutting costs and improving quality. Providers say the incentive amounts are not enough to cover the cost of change. “It’s an awful lot of sticks and not a lot of carrot,” said G. Scott Smith, medical director of St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group in Orange County.