CMS P4P research finds consistency to be key

How can hospitals benefit from the research being done by CMS on pay for performance? In part, just by accepting that improving quality results requires a high level of commitment, according to Richard Norling, CEO of Premier, which runs the P4P pilot on CMS's behalf. Norling, who's in Washington, DC this week for the American Hospital Association's annual meeting, conducted a briefing yesterday on lessons learned from the P4P demonstration program, the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID). He co-presented with officials from Arlington, TX-based Texas Health Resources (THR), six of whose twelve hospitals got bonuses as top performers during the second year of the program. The THR hospitals won because they were standouts in some of the P4P project's five clinical areas, some of which were outcomes related and others of which addressed processes--like patients getting timely angioplasties.

What made hospitals like those in the THR network a success? In short, consistency, Norling said. "When we looked at the data, we found that the best things happen when each and every process is reliably executed," Norling said. "If the evidence says it should be done, it should be executed 100 percent of the time." Sure, that's a tall order, but look at the alternative. After all, "when complications occur, they have a very negative impact,with higher mortality rates and higher costs," Norling notes.

To learn more about the HQID program:
- read this THR press release