Medicare's Investment in Quality Improvement May Not Be Paying Off

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Health Insurance: Medicare

Medicare's quality improvement organizations are charged with improving the medical care of Medicare beneficiaries. A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reports that hospitals that actively participate with these quality improvement organizations do not consistently show any greater improvement than hospitals that do not. The findings are published in the June 15, 2005, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA.)

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"Medicare spends more than $200 million annually for the quality improvement organizations to improve the quality of care for its beneficiaries. Our study found that quality is improving regardless of involvement by the quality improvement organizations," said Claire Snyder, PhD, a Health Policy and Management graduate of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. "This study raises important questions about the effectiveness of the quality improvement organizations."

Snyder and Gerard Anderson, PhD, a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School, analyzed the medical records of over 43,000 Medicare beneficiaries from four quality improvement organizations representing five states and the District of Columbia. They measured improvements in 5 clinical areas

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