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CMS: Technology can tighten link between quality measures and improvement

In publishing a final draft of its Physician Quality Reporting Programs strategic vision, CMS reiterated that it stands with the growing crowd of healthcare entities that are supporting a move away from fee-for-service payment models. The official CMS strategy document “supports CMS’ evolving approach to provider payment” and “continues its drive… to payment models that reward providers based on the quality and cost of care provided.”

In short, quality data leads to more easily measured health benchmarks, which in turn leads to improved patient care, CMS said.

Technology plays a large part in tightening the link between quality measures and improving the quality of care. “For example, providers may generate their own reports for quality improvement using their EHRs,” CMS says in the strategy document.

Eligible professionals that fall short of data reporting requirements on quality measures will face payment adjustments beginning this year, as part of the Physician Quality Reporting Programs. The payment adjustment in 2015 is 1.5% and jumps to 2.0% in 2016 and thereafter.

The Physician Quality Reporting Programs feed into the CMS Quality Strategy and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Quality Strategy, both of which aim to improve the delivery of healthcare. Patrick Conway, M.D., principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer at CMS, authored a blog post to pair with the release of CMS’ strategy document. In his post, Conway underscored the following five principles as pillars of CMS’ visions:

  • Feedback from healthcare professionals, patients and other caregivers will steer the programs
  • That feedback and other data will support swift quality improvement
  • Public reporting will provide actionable data to patients and providers
  • Consistent health IT quality measures will act as a foundation in support of CMS’ value-based purchasing programs, public reporting and quality improvement
  • All aspects of CMS’ quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs will be coordinated

Conway made it clear that CMS hopes its plan will benefit all sides of the healthcare industry. He wrote that the programs are designed to improve the delivery of care and provide information to consumers, patients and physicians. The CMS plan also aims to optimize how healthcare funds are spent and how care providers are paid.