FAH Hospital Policy Blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America's hospitals and the patients we serve.

Quality & Safety | Health Equity | FAH Policy Blog Team

Individual Health Equity Factors Should Play Larger Role in CMS Hospital Value-Based Programs   

A new peer-reviewed study, published in Health Affairs, concludes that individual health equity factors are more powerful indicators of success in the hospital value-based programs than a single bundle of several health equity measures. 

With policy makers putting more emphasis on measuring and improving health equity, the authors tested whether a bundle, or a composite measure, generally used in this area, would provide more valuable information on ways to improve health equity – as opposed to using individual measures. 

The paper, titled CMS Hospital Value-Based Programs: Refinements Are Needed To Reduce Health Disparities And Improve Health Outcomes, found that: 

  • It is more valuable to examine individual factors related to health equity. 
  • For example, individual measures such as poverty and unemployment were not factors in predicting hospital performance in any of the three value-based programs. 
  • At the same time, hospitals treating greater numbers of people living alone were more likely to have program performance affected. 

Measures examined by this study, both individually and grouped together as a composite, included: poverty, living alone, crowded housing, low English literacy, age 65+, unemployment, disability, no health insurance, no vehicle access, and no broadband internet access. 

Ultimately, the study recommends, “refinements are needed to ensure that these programs work as intended and that they support the reduction of health disparities and improve outcomes.” 

You can find the complete study here

It was co-authored by Chip Kahn, President and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, as well as Tilithia McBride and Don May, both with FAH, and Kimberly Rhodes, Sarmistha Pal, Joan E. DaVanzo and Allen Dobson, each with Dobson | DaVanzo and Associates, LLC.