Massachusetts' innovative use of "pay-for-performance" bonuses to try to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the case of Medicaid patients has turned up no evidence of the problem at any of the state's 66 acute-care hospitals, according to a new study that raises questions about the effectiveness of the state's novel approach.
While the study, published in the June edition of Health Affairs (June 9, 2011), found that racial and ethnic inequities for disadvantaged patients may well exist, it also determined that the hospital "pay-for-performance" approach – typically used to improve quality of care – proved unsuited to the task of identifying health care disparities or their severity, at least in the pioneering first years of its use.
According to the study, "Massachusetts' racial and ethnic disparities legislation was based on the assumptions that there were racial and ethnic disparities in the treatment of patients within the state's hospitals and that every hospital's patient population was sufficiently diverse to make a statewide intervention sensible."
However, the researchers found, the clinical conditions tracked in the pay-for- performance program did not bring to light any significant racial and ethnic disparities in hospital care. In addition, the hospitals' patient population was not sufficiently diverse to allow the approach to succeed in its goals of finding and narrowing gaps in care among the disadvantaged, the study stated.
It was in 2006 that Massachusetts passed major legislation to expand health insurance coverage throughout the state. The law, which would influence the federal Affordable Care Act implemented in 2010, featured a large increase in the state's Medicaid payment rate for hospitals, and with that increase came greater accountability in the form of the pay-for-performance program. Under the data-driven program, hospitals that performed well on specified measurements were eligible to receive substantial bonuses.
The use of "pay for performance" for the purpose of identifying and reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the care of Medicaid patients within hospitals marked a new approach for states. After the innovation was introduced in 2008, it became a subject of national interest.
This study of Massachusetts' use of pay-for-performance to reduce racial and ethnic inequities in hospital care was authored by Dr. Jan Blustein, professor of health policy and medicine at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, along with Joel S. Weissman of Mongan Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Andrew M. Ryan, assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College; Tim Doran, clinical research fellow in public health at the School of Health Sciences at the University of Manchester, England; and Roman Hasnain-Wynia, director, Center for Healthcare Equity, and associate research professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.
While no signs of racial or ethnic disparities were detected by the researchers, they noted the program is in its early years, and over time, policymakers may be able to more effectively measure and address disparities.
Even so, it's also possible that time will show that hospital pay-for-performance may be an inadequate tool for reducing health care disparities, the researchers wrote. A more effective way to reduce racial and ethnic inequities may be to focus on hospitals that heavily serve minority populations, or to attend to barriers to health and health care access that are rooted in factors "beyond hospital walls" over which hospitals have little direct influence, the authors suggested.
NOTE: Embargoed copies of this and other studies in the June issue of Health Affairs are available to reporters.
Please use username "press" and password "health" to access the page: http://burnesscommunications.com/pressroom/june-2011
Robert Polner | EurekAlert!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy