UAlbany School of Public Health to Study Association Between Health Care Costs and Outcomes in Cardiac Care
Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980
ALBANY, N.Y. (October 27, 2005) -- The University at Albany School of Public Health has been awarded a one-year, $100,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study the association between costs and outcomes in cardiac care procedures.
"The rising costs of health care have been of great concern to policymakers and the public for years," said Assistant Professor Shadi Saleh of the University's School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior. "Recent reports, most notably from the Institute of Medicine, have questioned the quality of care delivered in the U.S. Given the emerging interest in pay-for-performance programs, in which health care providers who provide higher quality care receive more money for services, it becomes very important to determine if there is an association between cost and quality of outcome."
The funded study is designed to determine if there would be possible financial benefits or additional costs associated with hospital-based, pay-for-performance programs, specifically for cardiac care procedures. The study is being conducted by Saleh and Distinguished Professor Edward Hannan, chair of the Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior.
Saleh and Hannan selected cardiac care procedures for study because of the cost of the procedures and the significant increase in angioplasty in recent years. In fact, the total number of these cardiac procedures in the U.S. doubled between 1990 and 2001 to more than 1.6 million per year at a cost of $33 billion.
If the study finds no association or an inverse association between costs and outcomes, public and private payers will be in a position to contract with high-quality hospitals at current reimbursement levels without fear of an increase in adverse outcomes. On the other hand, if there is a positive association, they will be in a position to employ a pay-for-performance program under which higher cost hospitals that have higher quality of care are reimbursed at higher rates. These higher rates would subsidize the hospitals for their additional costs in providing such a level of care and, at the same time, serve as an incentive for them to continue to do so.
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