The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be using quality performance statistics to determine how much the Medicare program will pay for inpatient services.

HHS today introduced the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program, an initiative created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).

HHS has posted an early, temporary version of the value-based purchasing program final rule on the Web.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will use the program to allocate $850 million in payments based on measures such as whether a hospital ensures that a patient who may have had a heart attack receives care within 90 minutes and communication of discharge instructions to heart failure patients.

The incentive program funding will be taken from what Medicare otherwise would have spent, and the size of the funding will gradually increase over time, officials say.

- Allison Bell

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