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Background: Value-based reimbursement programs have become increasingly common. However, little is known about the effect of such programs on patient reported outcomes. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the effect of introducing a value-based reimbursement program on patient reported outcome measures and to explore whether a selection bias towards less complicated patients occurred. Methods: This is a retrospective observational study with a before and after design based on the introduction of a value-based reimbursement program in Region Stockholm, Sweden. We analyzed patient level data from inpatient and outpatient care of patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery during 2006-2015. Patient reported outcome measures used was Global Assessment, EQ-5D-3L and Oswestry Disability Index. The case-mix of surgically treated patients was analyzed using medical and socioeconomic factors. Results: The value-based reimbursement program did not have any effect on targeted or non-targeted patient reported outcome measures. Moreover, the share of surgically treated patients with risk factors such as having comorbidities and being born outside of Europe increased after the introduction. Hence, the value-based reimbursement program did not encourage discrimination against sicker patients. However, the income was higher among patients surgically treated after the introduction of the value-based reimbursement. This indicates that a value-based reimbursement program may contribute to increased inequalities in access to healthcare. Conclusions: The value-based reimbursement program did not have any effect on patient reported outcome measures. Our study contributes to the understanding of the effects of a value-based reimbursement program on patient reported outcome measures and to what extent cherry-picking arises.
Eriksson, T., Tropp, H., Wiréhn, A. B., & Levin, L. Å. (2020). A pain relieving reimbursement program? Effects of a value-based reimbursement program on patient reported outcome measures. BMC Health Services Research, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05578-8