The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a final rule to establish the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program that will tie acute care Medicare payments to quality of care beginning in fiscal year 2013.

CMS estimates that $850 million in Medicare payments to hospitals during FY 2013 will be based on meeting a set of quality measures. The size of the value-based payments fund will increase over time as Medicare shifts from payment based on the quantity of services provided to performance-based payments.

The value-based purchasing program supports the recently launched Partnership for Patients program to reduce hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent by the end of 2013 and cut by 20 percent readmissions resulting from preventable complications during transitions of care (see story).

CMS intends to synchronize reporting under the value-based purchasing program with the electronic health records incentive program, the agency states in the rule. "We hope to have all measure data submitted via EHRs in the future."

A fact sheet is available here and the final rule, to be published May 6 in the Federal Register, is available here.

--Joseph Goedert


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