CMS Announces Voluntary MD Quality Measures Reporting Program
CMS Administrator Mark McClellan on Friday announced a new voluntary program for physicians to self-report adherence to certain evidence-based quality measures, CQ HealthBeat reports. Under the first phase of the program, beginning in January, physicians will be able to submit data on 36 quality measures for Medicare beneficiaries, including giving beta blockers to patients experiencing a heart attack and screening elderly patients for falls.
The measures were developed by physicians, physician organizations and quality-of-care experts, such as the National Quality Forum and the RAND Corporation. Physicians will not receive higher compensation for reporting the measures, and results will not be made public.
McClellan said that physicians might be interested in participating because they will be informed about how their performance compares to that of their peers. McClellan added that there is a trend of moving toward "pay-for-performance" programs in the public and private sectors.
Advancing health care information technology and connecting Medicare providers' reimbursements to quality of care are "top health care legislative priorities" and are seen as a way to stop rising government spending on health care and upgrade quality of care, according to CQ HealthBeat.
"We don't think the administrative burdens will be large" in the new program, McClellan said, adding that there "could well be" a link between reporting data and receiving higher Medicare payments next year depending on congressional action this year.
The American Physical Therapy Association said it would like to see the voluntary program expanded to include physical therapists and other nonphysician groups.
"The transition to a payment system that assures high quality, effective health care services is vitally important to the beneficiaries that physical therapists serve under the Medicare program," APTA President Ben Massey said (CQ HealthBeat, 10/28).