The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have implemented national value-based programs that incentivize hospitals to deliver better cardiovascular care. However, it is unclear how hospitals recognized for high-quality cardiovascular care by American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) national quality improvement initiatives (termed award hospitals) have performed under value-based programs.
To determine if hospitals that received awards for high-quality cardiovascular care from the AHA/ACC were less likely to be penalized under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) and the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program (VBP) compared with other hospitals.
This national cross-sectional study included data from short-term acute care hospitals in the United States that were participating in the HRRP or VBP in fiscal year 2018.
Recognition awards for high-quality care from the AHA’s Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure and ACC’s Chest Pain-MI (myocardial infarction) Registry national quality improvement initiatives.
Proportion of hospitals that received a financial penalty or financial reward under the HRRP or VBP, median payment adjustments, and hospital-level 30-day mortality rates.
This study included 3175 hospitals participating in the HRRP and 2781 hospitals participating in the VBP in fiscal year 2018. Under the HRRP, a higher proportion of award hospitals received financial penalties compared with other hospitals (419 [85.5%] vs 2112 [78.7%]; P < .001), although payment reductions were similar (median, 0.39% [interquartile range (IQR), 0.08%-0.84%] vs 0.33% [IQR, 0.03%-0.89%]; P = .17). Under the VBP, a higher proportion of award hospitals received penalties compared with other hospitals (250 [51.7%] vs 950 [41.4%]; P < .001), and fewer award hospitals received financial rewards (234 [48.4%] vs 1347 [58.6%]; P < .001). Median payment reductions were higher for award hospitals than other hospitals (0.01% [IQR, 0.00%-0.38%] vs 0.0% [IQR, 0.00%-0.28%]; P < .001), and median payment increases were lower (0.0% [IQR, 0.00%-0.34%] vs 0.13% [IQR, 0.00%-0.60%]; P < .001). Thirty-day mortality at award hospitals was similar (acute myocardial infarction, 13.2% vs 13.2%; P = .76) or slightly lower (heart failure, 11.3% vs 11.7%; P = .001) compared with other hospitals.
Hospitals that received awards for high-quality cardiovascular care from the AHA/ACC were more likely to be penalized and less likely to be financially rewarded by federal value-based programs. These findings highlight the potential need to standardize measurement of cardiovascular care quality.