In its latest move to get performance data up and available on the fledgling Physician Compare consumer website, the CMS is seeking feedback from providers about the use of patient experience measures.
In a request for comment (PDF)
slated to be published in Friday's Federal Register, the agency invites physicians to give their two cents on the potential burden as well as the usefulness of collecting such data.
The CMS is required by the healthcare reform law to develop and implement a plan by Jan. 1, 2013, for publicly reporting physician performance data. And one of the provisions of the reform law mandates the inclusion of patient experience data on the CMS' Physician Compare website.
In its request for comment, the agency said the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey for Physician Quality Reporting, a tool used to gauge patient experience in physician practices, "will fulfill this requirement."
Hospital Compare, Physician Compare's 7-year-old predecessor, has included metrics of patient experience—including patients' impressions of pain management, communication with nurses and hospital cleanliness—since 2008, using data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, or HCAHPs, survey.
Much of the clinical quality data that will appear on Physician Compare will come from the CMS' Physician Quality Reporting System, a voluntary program launched in 2007 that provides physicians with incentive payments for reporting performance data.
Although Physician Compare went live in late 2010, the site currently lists only Medicare-eligible providers by geographic region.