CMS rolls out quality improvement program

CMS announced that it is rolling out the Physician-Hospital Collaboration Demonstration (PHCD), a three-year program designed to gauge whether hospitals can improve outcomes without raising costs, if they reward doctors for providing better care. Under the program, "the hospital would be paid its usual inpatient rate for the patient's care, but would pay to the physician a portion of the savings resulting from quality improvement and efficiency initiatives taken by the physician." Outgoing CMS administrator Mark McClellan says the program is an attempt to encourage improving care to cut costs. The program will take place at 72 hospitals and track patients through their entire course of care, from hospital admission until long after the patient leaves the hospital. This will help program administrators to determine the long-term success of care improvement measures. PHCD was authorized as part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.

For more on PHCD:
- read this CMS press release