Adverse Effects of the Medicare PSI-90 Hospital Penalty System on Revenue-Neutral Hospital-Acquired Conditions

William V. Padula, Joyce M. Black, Patricia M. Davidson, So Yeon Kang, Peter J. Pronovost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective Health systems are grappling with improving the quality and safety of health care. By setting clear expectations, there is an opportunity to configure care models to decrease the risk of adverse events and promote the quality of care. The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have used Patient Safety Indicator 90 (PSI90), a composite rate of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs), to adjust payments and score hospitals on quality since 2015. However, PSI90 may be associated with adverse prioritization for preventing some conditions over others. Our objective was to evaluate the time-dependent rates of HACs between 2013 and 2016 to assess the association of funding models on adverse events, particularly pressure injury. Methods We analyzed a retrospective observational cohort of patients hospitalized in US Academic Medical Centers observed by the Vizient CDB/RM pre-post PSI90 implementation. Changes in HAC component rates of PSI90 between 2013 and 2016 were measured longitudinally using mixed-effects negative binomial regression modeling. Results Regardless of whether the composite measure of patient outcomes was PSI90 or all HACs, in general, there was significant decrease after PSI90 was implemented, reflecting an association between PSI90 and CMS reimbursement policy. However, pressure injury rates increased by 29.4% (SE = 0.08; P < 0.05) during this time frame, the only HAC observed to increase related to PSI90. Conclusions Patient safety in hospitals will only thoroughly improve when hospitals are fully incentivized to practice prevention of all HACs rather than work around the harms that result from failed prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E97-E102
JournalJournal of patient safety
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • medicare
  • patient safety
  • payments
  • pressure injury
  • quality of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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