New Study: Elderly Minority Patients Concentrated in Low-Performing Hospitals

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<p>Hospitals marked by low quality and high costs have double the proportion of elderly black patients as high-quality, low-cost hospitals, according to a new <a href="/publications/journal-article/2011/oct/low-quality-high-cost-hospitals-mainly-south-care-sharply">study</a> in <em>Health Affairs</em>. Similar disparities were found for elderly Hispanic and Medicaid patients. </p>
<p>The Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers, led by Harvard's Ashish K. Jha, M.D., report that the lower-performing hospitals are typically small public or for-profit institutions in the South, while the higher-performing facilities are typically nonprofit institutions in the Northeast. </p>
<p>Hospitals that can simultaneously provide high-quality care and manage their costs well are likely to come out ahead under health reform, the authors say. That's because the Affordable Care Act authorizes Medicare to make higher payments to hospitals that achieve better performance and cut reimbursements for those that fail to improve. </p>
<p>The study authors say, however, that Medicare should exercise caution in implementing its new value-based purchasing policy to ensure that any financial penalties lower-performing hospitals may incur don’t inadvertently worsen existing disparities in health care. </p>
<p>Read more <a href="/publications/journal-article/2011/oct/low-quality-high-cost-hospitals-mainly-south-care-sharply">here</a>. <br /></p>