MedPAC, the congressional advisory group, has produced research findings that back up the industry’s assertion that hospitals serving the poor, including major teaching facilities, are more likely to face penalties. But for now, Blum said Medicare is not inclined to grade on the curve.
‘‘We have really tried to address and study this issue,’’ said Blum. ‘‘If you look at the data, there are hospitals that serve a low-income patient mix and do very well on these measures. It seems to us that hospitals that serve low-income people can control readmissions very well.’’
Under Obama’s health care overhaul, Medicare is pursuing efforts to try to improve quality and lower costs. They include rewarding hospitals for quality results, and encouraging hospitals, nursing homes and medical practice groups to join in ‘‘accountable care organizations.’’ Dozens of pilot programs are under way. The jury is still out on the results.