March 21, 2019

MedPAC Recommends Alternative to Hospital Quality Payment Programs

The Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) recommended major changes to Medicare’s hospital quality payment programs in its March Report to Congress, released on March 15.

While crediting Medicare’s four hospital quality incentive programs for improved hospital care quality, MedPAC recommended that Congress replace them with a single program, the Hospital Value Incentive Program (HVIP).

The HVIP would combine four programs: The Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program (IQRP), the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program (HACRP) and the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program.

Also recommended in last year’s June Report to Congress, the HVIP would include a small set of population-based outcomes, patient experience and value measures, while accounting for patient risk factor differences by peer grouping.

Additionally, MedPAC found evidence that payment rates for physicians and other health professionals were adequate, and it recommended that the payment rate for physicians and other health professional services be updated by the amount specified in current law.

Established by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, MedPAC is a 17-member independent commission that advises Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program. Two annual reports — issued in March and June — are the primary mechanisms MedPAC uses to communicate its analyses and recommendations to federal lawmakers.