A Quality and Cost Comparison of Academic and Non-Academic Hospitals

Guidehouse On Healthcare Podcast Series

Academic medical centers (AMCs) are a vital component of care delivery in the U.S., often offering services unmatched by their non-AMC competitors. While AMCs have earned their strong reputations for cutting-edge and specialty care, the large volume of care able to be provided at community hospitals, combined with the growing presence of value-based payment models, is putting pressure on AMC reimbursement rates and operating margins, as well as their ability to continue to support their missions. This scenario reinforces the need for AMC quality and cost performance to be on par with, or better than, their large non-AMC counterparts.

In this episode, Christopher Stanley, MD, discusses a study he recently co-authored on AMC quality, cost, and value-based program performance compared to non-AMCs, and its implications for both. As Dr. Stanley shares, the study found that while they’re making steady improvements, AMC quality and cost performance trails that of non-AMCs. Specific results include:

  • Median wage- and case mix index-adjusted cost per case is higher at AMCs.
  • While Medicare value-based program performance improved 2016 to 2018, AMC scores still trail non-AMCs with AMCs receiving more program penalties.
  • There is little relationship between higher operating costs and better quality scores at both AMCs and non-AMCs.
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