The Hospital Value‐Based Purchasing Program (HVBP) is a pay for performance system that impacts traditional Medicare fee‐for‐service payments to hospitals through rewards and penalties.
To explore variation in overall and individual‐hospital total performance score (TPS) and embedded domains for hospitals during 2014‐2018.
Hospital data were retrieved from the publicly available HOSArchive dataset.
Distribution of annual TPS and HVBP domain scores for 2014‐2018 was evaluated using descriptive statistics. Transitional probabilities were analyzed to evaluate annual movement in the TPS ranking for outlier hospitals in the Top and Bottom 5%.
TPS scores are positively skewed while the distribution of domain scores vary with patient experience, (clinical) outcome, and efficiency domains having a large number of (positive) outliers. Mean TPS score decreased from 40.54 in 2014 to 38.04 by 2018. Improvement was shown in mean domain scores for clinical process of care and clinical outcome using 95% confidence intervals, with hospitals gaining 10 points over the study period in clinical outcome. Changes in the mean scores for other domains did not show consistent increases or decreases. Chi‐square analyses of hospital ranking categories showed some evidence that, as a group, hospitals initially ranked in the Bottom 5% are making consistent annual movements to higher categories. In contrast, over half of the hospitals ranking in the initial Top 5% remained in the top category across all study years.
It may be time for CMS to redesign the HVBP incentive program to assure the measures accurately demonstrate sustained improvement, the domain weights appropriately reflect the level of importance, and the TPS comparative ranking methodology does not discourage lower‐performing hospitals from actively improving the care they deliver and achieving top ranks.