Medicare’s Flawed Adjustment Methodology Poor Way to Spend Billions

New Dartmouth study in the journal BMJ offers roadmap for better risk adjustment

Lebanon, N.H. (April 10, 2014) – The  methodology Medicare uses to adjust the billions of dollars it pays health plans and hospitals to account for how sick their patients are is flawed and should be replaced, according to a new study by Dartmouth investigators published in the journal BMJ that weighed the performance of Medicare’s methodology against alternatives.

The researchers from the Dartmouth Atlas Project compared Medicare’s current risk-adjustment methodology, which is based on the diagnoses recorded in patients’ claims records, against adjustment indices based on wealth and health. The study found that using indices pegged to a region’s poverty rate or the overall health of its population do a better job of explaining the mortality rate of local Medicare populations than the current diagnosis-based adjustment method, raising questions about its efficacy.

Read the full story here.