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Medicare rolls out carrots and sticks for hospital quality

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Starting this week, hospitals will see their regular Medicare payment checks cut by 1 percent. That money will instead go into a fund established by the Value-Based Purchasing Program, which was created by PPACA. Some hospitals will have the money returned to them over the course of the year, but only if they score well on 20 different quality measures. Medicare estimates the program will reallocate about $850 million among hospitals, with about 1,400 receiving less money and another roughly 1,400 seeing more. About 550 hospitals are expected to break even.