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Aurora Health Care to participate in Medicare project promoting quality

Thursday, July 10, 2003

MILWAUKEE, Wis., Aurora Health Care announced today that it will participate in a new Medicare pilot project that will promote quality improvement efforts at hospitals across the country.

The pilot, called the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration Project, was announced today in Washington, D.C., by Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. The project marks the government’s first effort to tie Medicare hospital reimbursement to the quality of care provided.

“This project holds great potential to improve the quality and efficiency of hospital care while also helping control costs,” said G. Edwin Howe, president of Aurora Health Care. “This is the most significant step forward the government has taken since it introduced its system of diagnostic related groups in the early 1980s.”

The project is being conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Premier Inc., a nationwide alliance of not-for-profit hospitals. The project will use the Premier Perspective Online database, the country’s most robust repository for hospital data on clinical quality and cost.

Aurora Health Care is a Premier member and a longtime supporter of the Perspective database. Aurora has been contributing its hospital data to the database for more than six years and uses the database for benchmarking its own clinical quality improvement initiatives.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will use the database to identify top-performing hospitals based on the quality of care for five clinical conditions: heart attack, heart failure, hip and knee replacement, pneumonia, and coronary artery bypass surgery. Hospitals participating in the demonstration project will have their Medicare reimbursements linked to their performance on quality measures related to these five areas of care.

“This pay-for-performance approach will provide additional incentives for hospital quality initiatives and move us toward industry standards for quality,” Howe said. “It also will mean that consumers will have more information when choosing a hospital.”

Quality data from the participating hospitals will be published on the CMS web site and made available to health care professionals and consumers.

Premier is owned by its more than 200 member hospital and health care systems. These systems operate or are affiliated with nearly 1,500 hospitals and hundreds of other health care facilities. Premier provides an array of resources supporting health care delivery. Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of care. Aurora has care sites in 75 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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