CMS proposes new quality measures relying on digital collection

CMS is considering adding 20 quality measures to some of Medicare’s quality and value-based payment programs.

All but three of the proposed measures would have to be collected digitally, either through electronic health records or staff input, in order to qualify, the agency said. Shifting to digital measures is in line with the agency’s Meaningful Measures Framework, an initiative that launched in 2017 and focuses on tackling administrative burden. Quality measurement has long been criticized for being burdensome on staff while adding little value to clinicians or patients.

“Over the last four years, (the Meaningful Measures framework) has delivered better, less onerous metrics that are actually useful to those who use them,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “The measures we are announcing today represent more of the same. They prioritize health outcomes, reduce burden and give providers more time to do the work they entered medicine to do, treat patients.”

The 20 proposed measures are part of CMS’s annual rule-making process where the agency selects a list of measures that are then reviewed by the National Quality Forum’s measure applications partnership, a coalition of healthcare stakeholders that offer recommendations on what CMS should select for its programs. CMS seeks feedback from specialty societies and other stakeholders on measures they include in the list that goes to NQF.

NQF will accept feadback on the proposed measures until Jan. 6.

This year, 10 of the measures proposed are for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System. Several of these measures are related to costs and one is a patient-reported outcome measure.

Three of the measures are COVID-19 related including one that tracks coronavirus vaccination among healthcare personnel.

NQF’s Measure Applications Partnership is expected to offer its recommendations to CMS by February 1. CMS isn’t required to select all the measures it included on the list for NQF to review.


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