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Siegel in U.S. News: Quality Programs Should Adjust for Risk

In a U.S. News and World Report commentary, America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, argues that hospitals serving disadvantaged communities are penalized by unrealistic standards in federal quality initiatives that do not account for many socioeconomic obstacles.

“We can break this vicious circle and level the playing field for essential hospitals with reasonable steps to adjust federal quality measures for patients’ socioeconomic status,” Siegel wrote in his commentary, published Oct. 20. He highlighted the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act, which would improve performance measurement by risk adjusting the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.

“If federal penalties chip away at what few additional resources hospitals have to improve, the chance those improvements happen slips further out of reach,” Siegel warns, adding, “At a time when lawmakers from the two major parties agree on nearly nothing, the bipartisan support behind risk adjustment for the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program speaks volumes about the need for change.”

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About the Author

Michelle Rosenfeld is senior writer/editor at America's Essential Hospitals.

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