HPM faculty researcher wins the 2018 AcademyHealth Article-of-the Year Award

A recent study, led by Pitt HPM’s Eric Roberts, PhD, has been named the 2018 AcademyHealth Article-of-the-Year. Roberts presented the paper at the 2018 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, held June 24-26th in Seattle, Washington.
The article, entitled The Value-Based Payment Modifier: Program Outcomes and Implications for Disparities, studied a precursor to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (Medicare’s new pay-for-performance program for physicians). The study evaluated whether pay-for-performance incentives improved quality of care and reduced spending, as intended by the program, or inappropriately penalized physicians with higher-risk patients. Using a natural experiment created by the phase-in of pay-for-performance incentives, the authors found that quality was not better and costs were not lower for physicians exposed to these incentives.  Further, because quality and spending outcomes were inadequately adjusted for patient characteristics, the authors determined that physicians serving sicker and poorer patients received inappropriate penalties, while some practices serving healthier and wealthier patients received bonuses.  The findings highlight the potential of pay-for-performance programs with weak incentives and limited risk adjustment to inappropriately transfer resources among providers without improving patients’ care.
 AcademyHealth is one of the nation’s leading research centers focused on advancing the fields of health services research and health policy. An AcademyHealth selection committee chose the article from all nominated articles that were published in a peer-reviewed journal between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. This study was originally published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal and was posted in on 28 November 2017. Roberts was the lead author of a team also comprising Alan Zaslavsky, PhD of Harvard Medical School and John McWilliams, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The link to the AcademyHealth award announcement can be found on this website:


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