Hospital officials said they were pleased with participation in a 14-month-old voluntary quality reporting initiative, even though fewer than half of hospitals that signed on have actually submitted data for public consumption.
More than 3,000 hospitals said they plan to report data on 10 quality measures for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia. Of that number, some 1,400 hospitals have reported quality data on at least one of the 10 measures.
CMS officials expect participation to increase as the Medicare prescription drug law is enacted. Under the law, hospitals that publicly report quality data will receive greater payment increases than those that do not.
Quality measures for the three clinical categories were the first to be included in the reporting initiative, a joint effort of the CMS and the major hospital associations that was first launched in December 2002. As of last October, 1,700 hospitals had pledged participation and 415 had submitted data. As of last week, nearly 500 hospitals had sent data for each of the three categories, said Barbara Paul, a CMS quality official.
"As one of the skeptical organizations in the beginning ... we just have to say this has been a terrific performance by the hospitals and hospital associations," said Gerald Shea, a government affairs official at the AFL-CIO, one of several organizations backing the initiative. Two-thirds of the eligible for-profit hospitals have pledged to report quality data, according to the Federation of American Hospitals. The Association of American Medical Colleges said 77% of its membership has pledged support.