Hospital Productivity Trends: Implications for Medicare Payment Policy

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The Affordable Care Act called for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reduce payment updates for inpatient hospital care on the basis of anticipated productivity gains. However, hospital Medicare margins have been declining since 2014 and are now in negative territory. At the same time, overall hospital margins have remained healthy and stable as the gap between private insurer payment rates and Medicare rates has widened.

On June 25, 2019, the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy hosted a conference on hospital productivity trends and their implications for Medicare policy on hospital payment rate updates. The event consisted of a presentation on the established literature on hospital productivity, followed by two expert reactions, and a panel to discuss the policy implications of these trends and possible changes in policy.

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Watch the entire event here or download the transcript:

Event Date
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
9:30 AM - 11:45 AM Eastern
Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium
1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20036


Welcome and Introduction
  • Paul Ginsburg, Director, Center for Health Policy, USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy; Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies; Senior Fellow - Economic Studies
Presentation of the Literature
  • John Romley, Associate Professor and Economist, USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics
  • Moderated by Paul Ginsburg
  • Louise Sheiner, The Robert S. Kerr Senior Fellow - Economic Studies; Policy Director, The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy
  • Chapin White, Adjunct Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation
Panel Discussion
  • Moderated by Louise Sheiner
  • Stuart Altman, Chairman, Massachusetts Health Policy Commission
  • James Mathews, Executive Director, MedPac
  • Paul Spitalnic, Chief Actuary, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Chapin White