The role of social risk factors in dialysis facility ratings and penalties under a medicare quality incentive program

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Abstract

Medicare’s End-Stage Renal Disease Quality Incentive Program is a mandatory pay-for-performance program for US dialysis facilities, in which facilities are penalized up to 2 percent of their total Medicare payments based on their performance on quality metrics. While analyses of similar programs in other settings have shown performance to be related to social risk factors, it is unknown whether this program displays similar patterns. In this national study, facilities located in lowincome ZIP codes and with high proportions of patients who were black or dually enrolled in Medicaid had lower performance scores and higher rates of penalization under the program. Independent (versus chain) status, large facility size, and urban location were also associated with penalties. Further study is needed to determine the degree to which these patterns reflect low-quality care delivery versus patient factors beyond providers’ control. In the meantime, the impact of these penalties on providers serving vulnerable populations should be tracked closely.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1109
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume38
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2019

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