Intended Consequences of Quality Reporting

Monday, December 10th, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

We routinely receive releases on “The 100 Best Hospitals” as ranked by this organization or that.
But CMS’ publishing last week of its list of 52 poor-performing nursing homes should have healthcare organizations not sufficiently quality-focused squirming in their C-suites. While the list is intended
to support consumers’ quest for quality long-term care, inclusion is somewhat of a virtual scarlet letter for the 52
“special focus facilities” that will be subject to more intense scrutiny and more frequent inspections from CMS until there
is clear long-term evidence of compliance.

Could there one day be a “52 Poor-Performing Hospitals” or “52 Poor-Performing Providers” list? This type of publicity means
consumers won’t have to dig as deep for provider and hospital quality rankings. In related news analysis this week, Dr. Dale Bratzler of the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality Inc. ponders the potential unintended consequences of public reporting and pay for performance that could lead to patient harm in both direct and indirect ways.

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