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Stroke, behavioral-health measures endorsed

Posted: November 5, 2012 - 12:45 pm ET

The National Quality Forum has endorsed 24 measures related to the treatment of stroke and behavioral health.

The 10 behavioral-health measures, chosen from an initial group of 22, target areas such as tobacco use, medication adherence among patients with schizophrenia, alcohol dependency and follow-up after hospitalization for mental illness.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance developed eight of the measures, while the CMS and the American Medical Association's Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement each developed one.

“These measures are an important step forward for the healthcare community," said Dr. Harold Pincus, professor and vice chair of the department of psychiatry at Columbia University, New York, and co-chair of NQF's behavioral health endorsement committee, in a news release. “NQF has endorsed a relatively small number of behavioral health measures in the past; these additional measures will help fill measurement gaps and give us a real opportunity to generate information that will improve care for those in need.”

NQF also endorsed 14 neurology measures focused on stroke treatment and rehabilitation. The measures, taken from an initial group of 29, address a range of topics, including prevention of deep-vein thrombosis, screening for problems swallowing and ordering of rehabilitation services.

Those measures were developed by several different groups, including the Joint Commission, the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement and HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Stroke-related healthcare costs topped $73 billion in 2010, the NQF said in a release, citing data from the American Stroke Association.

"The healthcare community has made great strides in stroke care and treatment, helping patients—including myself—across the country heal and return to their daily lives," said David Knowlton, president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, Pennington, N.J., and co-chair of the NQF's neurology endorsement steering committee. "As a patient, I saw firsthand how standardized measurement can affect patient outcomes. These measures will help providers measure, report on, and ultimately improve stroke care and quality of life."

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