CMS awarded seven organizations with cooperative agreements that will involve them in a project to improve and expand quality measures for Medicare's Quality Payment Program (QPP), which enters its third year in 2019.
The organizations in the project include a hospital, specialty groups, colleges and an employer coalition. They will focus on orthopedic surgery, pathology, radiology, mental health and substance use, oncology and palliative care.
- The funding program aligns with the agency's Meaningful Measures initiative, which highlights quality measurement and improvement priorities. The collaboration will "fill gaps in the QPP measure set," CMS said.
CMS is hoping to corral providers in support of the Trump administration's attempts to cut back red tape and regulation. Doctors often say quality measures can create excessive EHR reporting burdens and they are generally on board with efforts to jettison those that are duplicative or don't accurately measure good patient care. Providers may prove valuable in developing their own metrics, although organizations can disagree on what works best.
CMS said that in creating metrics that minimize provider burden while promoting high-quality care, it may remove measures with limited value and add others that are more clinically appropriate, increase value, reduce provider burden and enhance patient care.
The agency said it has already removed or proposed eliminating reporting requirements for 105 measures, changes it predicts will save providers $178 million over three years. The agency hopes the latest QPP initiative will spot other provider burdens.
CMS said it will especially look at "clinical specialties underrepresented in the current measure set with the goal of improving patient care, and focus on outcome measures, including patient-reported and functional-status measures, to better reflect what matters most to patients."
The American Hospital Association backed the reduced threshold to participate in MIPS. However, The American Medical Group Association opposed that change, and said in its comments that the plan to increase flexibility could lead to an unneeded delay toward value-based care and "fails to recognize the significant investments made in preparation for participation" in MACRA.