Rural hospitals out-perform urban hospitals on key quality measures

  • Rural hospitals, on average, outdid their urban counterparts in Medicare’s value-based purchasing program, scoring higher on several key measures, according to a new HHS report.
  • The program rewards or penalizes acute care hospitals based on the quality of care they provide to patients and hospitals in rural areas bested urban hospitals on patient experience as well as efficiency and costs.
  • The higher total performance score rural hospitals had translated to a higher average payment, with an average payment adjustment factor of +0.22 of diagnosis-related group payments, versus +0.07 for urban hospitals.
  • Rural hospitals also had fewer postoperative wound infection and hospital-acquired infection rates than urban hospitals. Just 14% of rural hospitals faced penalties under the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, compared to 26% of urban facilities. Urban hospitals, on the other hand, did slightly better than rural hospitals with readmissions. In 2015, 79% of rural hospitals faced penalties under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, compared with 76% of urban hospitals.


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