ALMH, an affiliate of Memorial Health
System, will be joined by as many as 300 other hospitals in the
nationwide Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration Project. The
federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and
Premier, a San Diego-based alliance specializing in patient care
quality reporting and improvement, will conduct the project.
The other two hospitals in Memorial
Health System, Memorial Medical Center in Springfield and St.
Vincent Memorial Hospital at Taylorville, will also participate in
the project to enhance quality and performance of U.S. hospitals.
"This national study is a crucial,
first step toward developing consistent quality standards that will
translate into improved patient care," said Woody Hester, president
and CEO of Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. "It will be nice to be
rewarded for the hard work that our entire staff does every day to
make sure we are delivering consistent, high-quality care to
Participating hospitals that
demonstrate superior care in heart bypass surgery, heart failure
care, heart attack care, community-acquired pneumonia, and hip and
knee replacements will be eligible for increased Medicare
reimbursements of up to 2 percent. CMS will measure hospitals'
performance on such measures as prescription of aspirin upon arrival
for heart attack patients and the timely administration of
antibiotics for pneumonia patients. Such measures are commonly
accepted as being connected to improved patient outcomes.
Hospitals will be scored on quality
measures related to each condition. Those in the top 10 percent for
a given condition will be given a 2 percent bonus on their Medicare
payments. Hospitals in the second 10 percent will be given a 1
percent bonus. Hospitals in the remaining portion of the top 50
percent will be recognized for their quality, but no Medicare
reimbursement bonus will be given. Any hospital that fails to meet
minimal improvement levels will be penalized as much as 2 percent in
the program's third year.
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"For Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital,
the incentive for superior performance could amount to $60,000
annually," said Dolan Dalpoas, ALMH's director of quality
management. "While we value the monetary benefit that could result
from participation in the project, the primary benefit is improved
quality of life for our patients.
Premier will track participating
hospitals' performance through its Perspective™ database, the most
comprehensive clinical database in the nation. Data on quality of
care at the participating hospitals will be published on the
CMS site and made available to
health care professionals and consumers.
The Hospital Quality Incentive
Demonstration Project is a pilot program. If successful, such a
structure could become a permanent Medicare program and applied to
"Our participation in this project
reflects the commitment we bring to our mission of helping to
maintain, restore and improve the health of the people and
communities we serve," Dalpoas said.
very proud to be on the leading edge of a new phase in the quality
health care movement. It's exciting to take a very significant step
forward to make quality count in American health care."