Quality Improvement

America’s Essential Hospitals and its members are committed to improving quality by reducing hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) that create serious adverse outcomes for patients and lowering the number of preventable readmissions. Essential hospitals are at the forefront of using evidence-based guidelines to prevent HACs and improve the overall patient experience.

National efforts to track hospital quality include public reporting of quality rating information and use of performance measures to link quality to payment. In that context, it becomes critically important to measure outcomes and align measures across care settings.

But measures often fail to account for social and economic challenges vulnerable patients face and that a hospital has little or no ability to control. Without risk adjusting measures for these socioeconomic factors, quality incentive programs disproportionately penalize essential hospitals, which already operate with a zero margin, on average. This creates a vicious circle in which quality erodes further because hospitals lose the very funding they need for improvements.

America’s Essential Hospitals advocates for quality improvement program measures that are properly constructed, risk adjusted for factors beyond the control of the hospital, and that do not lead to unintended consequences for, and administrative burdens on, essential hospitals.