Identifying high-value care for Medicare beneficiaries: a cross-sectional study of acute care hospitals in the USA

Jeph Herrin, Huihui Yu, Arjun K. Venkatesh, Sunita M. Desai, Cassandra L. Thiel, Zhenqiu Lin, Susannah M. Bernheim, Leora I. Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives High-value care is providing high quality care at low cost; we sought to define hospital value and identify the characteristics of hospitals which provide high-value care. Design Retrospective observational study. Setting Acute care hospitals in the USA. Participants All Medicare beneficiaries with claims included in Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Overall Star Ratings or in publicly available Medicare spending per beneficiary data. Primary and secondary outcome measures Our primary outcome was value defined as the difference between Star Ratings quality score and Medicare spending; the secondary outcome was classification as a 4 or 5 star hospital with lowest quintile Medicare spending ( € high value') or 1 or 2 star hospital with highest quintile spending ( € low value'). Results Two thousand nine hundred and fourteen hospitals had both quality and spending data, and were included. The value score had a mean (SD) of 0.58 (1.79). A total of 286 hospitals were classified as high value; these represented 28.6% of 999 4 and 5 star hospitals and 46.8% of 611 low cost hospitals. A total of 258 hospitals were classified as low value; these represented 26.6% of 970 1 and 2 star hospitals and 49.3% of 523 high cost hospitals. In regression models ownership, non-teaching status, beds, urbanity, nurse to bed ratio, percentage of dual eligible Medicare patients and percentage of disproportionate share hospital payments were associated with the primary value score. Conclusions There are high quality hospitals that are not high value, and a number of factors are strongly associated with being low or high value. These findings can inform efforts of policymakers and hospitals to increase the value of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere053629
JournalBMJ open
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 31 2022


  • health policy
  • quality in health care
  • statistics & research methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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