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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina Study Finds Association between Freestanding Dialysis Facility Size and Medicare Quality Incentive Program Performance Scores

Researchers from the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health’s health services policy and management and epidemiology and biostatistics departments at the University of South Carolina have completed a study on the association between freestanding dialysis facility size and Medicare quality incentive program (QIP) performance scores. Their paper was published in the American Journal of Nephrology.

The researchers found that facilities operating more than 10 dialysis stations had higher QIP scores than those operating fewer stations. Additional factors associated with better quality scores included location (facilities in the South and Northeast performed best) and spending more hours per dialysis session. Facilities reporting a higher proportion of patients with access to pre-end-stage renal disease nephrologist care achieved higher QIP scores. Findings regarding patient race/ethnicity were mixed, with facilities serving a high proportion of Hispanic patients having higher quality scores while those serving a high proportion of African American patients had lower scores.  Finally, higher patient travel distance was associated with lower quality scores.

The team concluded that quality improvement strategies are needed, especially for small facilities, to prevent penalties and eventual closure of such facilities due to financial insolvency. They warn that failure to address these issues will increase further disparities in pre-end-stage renal disease care.

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