An American Hospital Association advisory said hospitals should contact the Medicare quality improvement organization in their state before May 1 to start the registration process for a national quality-of-care reporting initiative, the first step in qualifying for a full inflation Medicare update in federal fiscal 2005, which begins Oct. 1. Hospitals already participating in the program have met most of the registration requirements, the AHA said. Hospitals must submit data on 10 quality measures -- five on treatment of heart attacks, two on heart failure and three on pneumonia -- by Aug. 1 to qualify for the full inflation update under provisions of the recent Medicare reform law. Facilities not meeting the deadline will receive Medicare updates of 0.4 percentage points below inflation. Hospitals must be registered by June 1 with a Web-based service for transmitting data to a central repository used by all quality improvement organizations. The instructions for qualifying were part of a status report on the initiative that also summarized the timetable for adding 12 new quality measures by summer 2005. The new measures generally broaden the scope of testing and intervention expected in treatment of the three original targeted conditions. They are not linked to the payment-reform requirement. Read the advisory. -- by John Morrissey
Hospitals must act soon for full Medicare update
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