AMA Opposes New Medicare Quality Data Reporting Program
The American Medical Association on Thursday sent a letter to CMS Administrator Mark McClellan that raised opposition to a Medicare quality data reporting program announced late last month, The Hill reports (Young, The Hill, 11/9).
McClellan on Oct. 28 announced a new voluntary program for physicians to self-report adherence to certain evidence-based quality measures.
Under the first phase of the program, which will begin in January, physicians can report data on 36 measures for Medicare beneficiaries. The measures were developed by physicians, physician organizations and quality-of-care experts, such as the National Quality Forum and RAND.
Physicians who report the measure will not receive higher reimbursements, and CMS will not make the results public (California Healthline, 10/31).
According to The Hill, the program is part of a "broader strategy" by CMS to implement a Medicare pay-for-performance system for providers.
In the AMA letter, group officials and trustees said, "CMS has bypassed a significant body of collaborative work [between physicians and federal officials] in favor of its own reporting program. The physician community has made a good-faith effort to develop, endorse and implement physician performance measures." The letter added, "The excessive administrative requirements that this program will impose on physicians could doom this initiative and negate any intended quality improvements. ... We recommend a fresh start on future CMS quality activities..."
According to The Hill, a CMS press release that accompanied the announcement of the Medicare quality data reporting program "seems to counter" the concerns raised in the AMA letter.
The press release named AMA as one of the groups that "provided the basis for the administration's proposal."
A CMS spokesperson said that McClellan considers the program "one of many steps" toward improving the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries. The spokesperson said that CMS will continue to work with physicians and others to improve the Medicare quality data reporting program, adding that physicians do not have to participate to receive reimbursements (The Hill, 11/9).