Medicare pays higher reimbursement to teaching hospitals through indirect medical education (IME) payments to hospitals that train a high share of residents. IME inflate standard reimbursements in an attempt to compensate hospitals for these additional costs. Medicare also pay hospitals directly for some cost of training residents through the graduate medical education (GME). A key question then is whether these teaching hospitals provide better quality of care to patients.
A paper by Sloan (2021) aims to answer that question by conducting a systematic review of the literature. The study finds that:
Quality of care as measured in process of care studies and in longi- tudinal studies of long-term survival of cancer patients tends to be higher at major teaching hospitals. Evidence on survival at 30 days post admission for common conditions and procedures also tends to favor such hospitals. Findings on other dimensions of relative quality are mixed. Hospitals with a substan- tial commitment to graduate medical education, major teaching hospitals, are about 10% to 20% more costly than nonteaching hospitals. Private insurers pay a differential to major teaching hospitals at this range’s lower end. Inclusive of subsidies, Medicare pays major teaching hospitals substantially more than 20% extra, especially for complex surgical procedures.