Health care facility-onset Clostridioides difficile infection (HO-CDI) rates reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) became a target quality metric for 2 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) value-based incentive programs (VBIPs) in October 2016. The association of VBIPs with HO-CDI rates is unknown.
To examine the association between VBIP implementation and HO-CDI rates.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This interrupted time series study evaluated HO-CDI rates among adults hospitalized from January 2013 to March 2019 at 265 acute-care hospitals.
Implementation of VBIPs in October 2016.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Quarterly rates of HO-CDI per 10 000 patient-days, as reported to NHSN by participating hospitals, were evaluated. Generalized estimating equations were used to fit negative binomial regression models to estimate immediate program effect size (ie, level change) and changes in the slope of HO-CDI rates, controlling for each hospital's predominant method of CDI testing (ie, nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT], enzyme immunoassay [EIA] for toxin, or other testing methods).
The study cohort included 24 332 938 admissions, 109 371 136 patient-days, and 74 681 HO-CDI events at 265 hospitals (145 [55%] with 100-399 beds; 205 [77%] not-for-profit hospitals; 185 [70%] teaching hospitals; 229 [86%] in metropolitan areas). Compared with EIA, rates of HO-CDI were higher when detected by NAAT (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR], 1.55; 95% CI, 1.40-1.70; P < .001) and other testing methods (aIRR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.26-1.71; P < .001). There were no significant changes in testing methods used by hospitals immediately after VBIP implementation. Controlling for CDI testing method, VBIP implementation was associated with a 6% level decline in HO-CDI rates in the immediate postpolicy quarter (aIRR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.89-0.99; P = .01) and a 4% decline in slope per quarter (aIRR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.95-0.97; P < .001). Results were similar in a sensitivity analysis using a 1-year roll-in period accounting for the period after the announcement of the HO-CDI VBIP policy and prior to its implementation.
Conclusions and Relevance
In this study, VBIP implementation was associated with improvements in HO-CDI rates, independent of CDI testing method. Given that CMS payment policies have not previously been associated with improvements in other targeted health care-associated infection rates, future research should focus on elucidating the specific processes that contributed to improvement in HO-CDI rates to inform the design of future VBIP interventions.