Passed in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to create a more sustainable healthcare industry by improving patient care while lowering costs. While complex, the ACA essentially overhauled the healthcare system by incorporating outcomes-based reimbursement – paying for quality care and penalizing for preventable conditions.
Key features of the ACA include the:
- Value-Based Purchasing Program (VBP): Designed to reward hospitals for quality care, the VBP has approximately $1.6 billion in incentive payments in 2016 for hospitals with high Total Performance Scores (TPS).
- Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP): Unplanned readmissions – where a patient returns to the hospital within 30 days of discharge – costs the healthcare industry greatly. The HRRP requires Medicare to reduce payments for hospitals with higher readmission rates. In 2015, Medicare withheld 3% in reimbursements to applicable hospitals.
- HAC Reduction Program: The Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Program adjusts payments to applicable hospitals that rank in the worst-performing quartile with respect to risk-adjusted HAC quality measures. The total savings is estimated to be $364 million in 2016 based on the 1% payment penalty.
- Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program: The IQR provides financial incentives to hospital for reporting quality data, including HAC rates, to help consumers make more informed healthcare decisions.
- Hospital Compare: Medicare’s Hospital Compare website gathers some of the information provided by the IQR program and is designed to let consumers view quality care stats of hospitals in their area.
With increased regulation and more consumer choices than ever before, the financial implications for hospitals with high rates of HACs and readmissions can be detrimental. Many hospitals are evaluating the use of antimicrobial-embedded medical devices and surfaces as part of a comprehensive infection-prevention plan to further reduce these risks.
Sciessent’s line of antimicrobial technology is embedded within numerous of FDA-approved medical devices and has been proven to be effective in attacking dangerous microbes and inhibiting their growth.