Maybe the idea of Medicare reimbursing for "pay-for-performance" measures really misses the point: they should pay for outcomes, not for the performance of mere documentation. It's like asking a student to grade their own class performance: funny how almost all of them get A's that way.
For instance, here's the "quality data" of three different hospitals in our area:
|Percent of Surgery Patients Who Received Preventative Antibiotic(s) One Hour Before Incision||92% of 885 patients||95% of 435 patients||94% of 357 patients|
|Percent of Surgery Patients Who Received the Appropriate Preventative Antibiotic(s) for Their Surgery||98% of 909 patients||97% of 448 patients||97% of 362 patients|
|Percent of Surgery Patients Whose Preventative Antibiotic(s) are Stopped Within 24 hours After Surgery||90% of 856 patients||90% of 417 patients||87% of 339 patients|
|Percent of Surgery Patients Whose Doctors Ordered Treatments to Prevent Blood Clots (Venous Thromboembolism) For Certain Types of Surgeries||92% of 182 patients||92% of 150 patients||95% of 178 patients|
|Percent of Surgery Patients Who Received Treatment To Prevent Blood Clots Within 24 Hours Before or After Selected Surgeries to Prevent Blood Clots||92% of 182 patients||92% of 150 patients||88% of 178 patients|
Now, which of these three hospitals will give you the lowest bypass mortality?
Stumped? Gosh, how can you be? I mean the data are so, well, CLEAR!
Just think: how many chart-reviewers were required to review these charts and gather these data? How many hours? How much money do we spend annually to assure these "quality" data are posted to make the governmental "grade?" Most importantly, with hospital reimbursements tied to such worthless performance measures, how are our patient "consumers" ever going to use this data when the variance between centers is so slight and skewed consistently toward perfection?
You get what you pay for, alright. Pay for "good" data and you'll get "good" data. After all, it's the "Skinner Box" effect: if hospitals push the right levers, they get their "conditional reward" of slightly higher Medicare reimbursements.
Even if these measures don't mean dog-doo-doo.