Ambulatory Quality Alliance Announces 26 Standards To Help Measure, Improve Health Care Quality
The Ambulatory Quality Alliance, a coalition of physician, health plan and government groups, on Tuesday announced 26 quality measures that health plans, employers and physicians could begin using to measure and improve care quality, CQ HealthBeat reports. The measures include preventive measures such as vaccinations, prenatal care and cancer screenings; treatment of chronic conditions, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, diabetes, asthma and depression; and two measures addressing care efficiency (CQ HealthBeat, 5/3).
According to the Wall Street Journal, the quality measures could help health plans establish pay-for-performance systems as soon as next year. The effort seeks to help physicians improve their quality of care, as well as make measures "uniform and consistent" among insurers, the Journal reports (Lueck/Dumcius, Wall Street Journal, 5/4).
In related news, CMS Administrator Mark McClellan on Tuesday at the American Hospital Association annual meeting announced preliminary results of the Premier Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project, a Medicare pay-for-performance pilot program, CQ HealthBeat reports. The first year of the three-year pilot program, which tracks the performance of 270 hospitals on 34 measures of care for five conditions, shows "that the lure of higher payments goaded hospitals into improving their quality of care," according to CQ HealthBeat.
The program so far has found "improvements across the board," according to CQ HealthBeat (CQ HealthBeat, 5/3). The program offers the highest-scoring hospitals bonus payments totaling $21 million over three years, according to the Journal. Low-performing hospitals could receive a 2% reduction in Medicare payments at the end of the demonstration (Wall Street Journal, 5/4).