Study: Despite Improvements, Academic Medical Centers Trail Non-Academics on Cost and Quality Metrics

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Academic medical centers (AMCs) have earned strong reputations for cutting-edge and specialty care, but a new analysis shows AMCs trailing non-AMCs across cost and quality measures. According to the Guidehouse's academic medical center analysis:

  • Cost per case was 5.8% higher at AMCs (2017), equating to $3.1 million in average added annual operating expense per AMC.
  • Cost per case disparity between high and low performers of 22% for AMCs, 19.8% for non-AMCs, equating to $12 million per AMC and $9.2 million per non-AMC in added annual operating expense.
  • AMCs received more Medicare value-based program penalties (2016-2018) — 40% got 7+ of 9 possible penalties vs. 23% of non-AMCs. 
academic medical center analysis  academic medical center analysis

The analysis suggests facilities struggling with value-based programs could face further financial pressures due to such trends as quality indicators driving patient-care decisions, growing revenue at-risk through alternative payment models, and partnerships impacted by performance. 

Download our study, "A Quality and Cost Comparison of Academic and Non-Academic Hospitals," for full analysis results, as well as approaches AMC's can take to minimize these negative implications and improve quality and cost.

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