Original Research

Association between Hospitalist Productivity Payments and High-Value Care Culture


BACKGROUND: Given the national emphasis on affordability, healthcare systems expect that their clinicians are motivated to provide high-value care. However, some hospitalists are reimbursed with productivity bonuses and little is known about the effects of these reimbursements on the local culture of high-value care delivery.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate if hospitalist reimbursement models are associated with high-value culture in university, community, and safety-net hospitals.

DESIGN, PATIENTS, AND SETTINGS: Internal medicine hospitalists from 12 hospitals across California completed a cross-sectional survey assessing their perceptions of high-value care culture within their institutions. Sites represented university, community, and safety-net centers with different performances as reflected by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Service’s Value-based Purchasing (VBP) scores.

MEASUREMENT: Demographic characteristics and High-Value Care Culture Survey (HVCCSTM) scores were evaluated using descriptive statistics, and associations were assessed through multilevel linear regression.

RESULTS: Of the 255 hospitalists surveyed, 147 (57.6%) worked in university hospitals, 85 (33.3%) in community hospitals, and 23 (9.0%) in safety-net hospitals. Across all 12 sites, 166 (65.1%) hospitalists reported payment with salary or wages, and 77 (30.2%) with salary plus productivity adjustments. The mean HVCCS score was 50.2 (SD 13.6) on a 0-100 scale. Hospitalists reported lower mean HVCCS scores if they reported payment with salary plus productivity (β = −6.2, 95% CI −9.9 to −2.5) than if they reported payment with salary or wages.

CONCLUSIONS: Hospitalists paid with salary plus productivity reported lower high-value care culture scores for their institutions than those paid with salary or wages. High-value care culture and clinician reimbursement schemes are potential targets of strategies for improving quality outcomes at low cost.

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