Quality Matters Archive

Quality Matters reported on emerging models and trends in health care delivery reform and interviews with leaders in the field. Please read its successor, Transforming Care.

  • August/September 2011 Issue
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News Briefs

NQF Releases Child Quality Health Measures
The National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed 41 quality measures that cover prenatal to adolescent care and include important areas of wellness and development for children such as perinatal and neonatal care, chronic illness care, care for hospitalized children, and child health outcomes. The standards, which are designed to help the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, states, health plans, and providers track trends and opportunities for improvement, are available for comment as part of a 30-day public appeals process that ends Sept. 13.

Pentagon, VA Developing Common Medical Record
The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are moving forward with plans to develop a common data sharing network, according to the Washington Post. The federal government will invest as much as $4 billion to combine clinical data from the two systems into an "Integrated Lifetime Electronic Record." The end product is likely to rely on open-source technology, which would enable private hospitals to make use of it.

Physicians Want Review Process Established for Publicly Reported Data
The American Medical Association (AMA) urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide physicians with more time to review individual data before reports on physician performance are made available to the public. CMS plans to make Medicare claims data available to as yet undefined entities for the development of quality, efficiency, and performance reports. The reports are also designed to provide physicians with individual feedback. According to a proposed rule, Medicare would give physicians 30 days to review and appeal performance results. The AMA is seeking 90 days to review claims and additional time to request corrections. Separately, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended CMS improve its approach to physician quality reporting in part by sampling physicians about the reports' usefulness and reliability. "CMS faces challenges incorporating resource use and quality measures for physician feedback reports that are meaningful, actionable, and reliable," the GAO noted.

Funding Available for Health Improvement Projects
CMS announced in late June that it will award up to $500 million to hospitals and providers to improve care by reducing preventable injuries and complications related to health care–acquired conditions and unnecessary readmissions. The funding, which is part of the public–private Partnership for Patients program, will be awarded by CMS' Innovation Center. The program has established a goal of reducing incidence of harm in hospital settings by 40 percent and hospital readmission rates by 20 percent within three years. Contractors applying for funding are expected to design programs to teach and support hospitals in making care safer; conduct training for providers; provide technical assistance for hospitals and clinical providers; and establish a monitoring system to measure progress.

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