The CMS announced a voluntary quality reporting initiative for physicians, possibly a first step to a Medicare pay-for-performance program for doctors. The initiative starts in January with 36 quality measures developed by the American Medical Association, the National Quality Forum and other groups. More measures will be phased in during 2006, the CMS said.
The agency said the data will be for its use and physicians' and will not be made available to the public. Hospitals already receive additional Medicare payments for reporting data to the CMS, and the agency has begun a pay-for-performance demonstration project involving large medical groups. Its announcement did not address additional reimbursement for physicians who report the data under the latest initiative.
The CMS said the initiative is part of its ongoing effort with Congress to make sure Medicare is paying doctors adequately without increasing overall program costs.