Health Leaders Push for Fewer, Narrower Quality Measures

To improve care, policy analysts and health leaders recommend there be fewer and narrower quality measures.

To improve care, policy analysts and health leaders recommend there be fewer and narrower quality measures.

Tom Daschle, former Senate majority leader from South Dakota, and Michael Leavitt, former governor of Utah and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary under George W. Bush, say that in order for the US healthcare system to transition to a focus on value, a unified group of measures is necessary.

“The dilemma we are having in driving quality measurement is we are still trying to fuss with the little gears,” Leavitt said. “We are going to have to discover the big gears and turn them. That’s all the consumer has interest in dealing with.”

Currently, providers manage about 1370 different performance measures, and many are unaligned. With policy reform initiatives such as HITECH and the Affordable Care Act, that number is subject to increase.

Leavitt adds, “You can implement just about any system in time. We’ve been going through a complicated, labored implementation. But you have to ask the question now, `is it working, and how can we make it better where it’s not working?’”

Quantifying quality benchmarks is important, especially as changes to the sustainable growth rate formula will impact Medicare incentive programs. In addition to providers receiving a 0.5% annual increase in reimbursement and other bonuses, the newly minted merit-based incentive payment system will combine the Physician Quality Reporting System along with meaningful use and value-based payment modifier programs.

“This legislation represents a major milestone in physicians’ nearly 10-year battle to repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate formula used to calculate Medicare reimbursement,” said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “The Academy applauds the efforts of the members of the Senate Committee on Finance, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for their efforts in developing this bipartisan legislation. Ophthalmology joins our colleagues across medicine in strongly urging lawmakers to pass this legislation in order to protect the viability of physicians’ practices and ensure beneficiaries have access to the highest quality medical and surgical care available.”

Around the Web

Leaders Press for Fewer Quality Measures [Healthcare IT News]

Support for SGR Repeal Bill Builds Among Physician Societies [EHR Intelligence]