The association for quality improvement organizations said in a news release that new legislation intended to overhaul the Medicare-run program would impose a more radical and costly solution than is necessary to solve some of the problems that have been highlighted over the years from groups like the Institute of Medicine and the Government Accountability Office.
David Schulke, executive vice president of the American Health Quality Association, said that he agrees with some provisions in the bill introduced Aug. 2 by Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committees ranking member, but opposes a move to transfer beneficiary complaint investigation duties from the QIO to new Medicare provider review organizations.
All that is needed to ensure the flow of that information is to rewrite a regulation that prohibits QIOs from telling those results when a physician objects to passing them along, Schulke said. Its both costly and unnecessary to create a new national infrastructure of contractors to solve that problem.
The bill would streamline the function of the QIO to focus on technical assistance in aiding quality and performance improvement, with an emphasis on underserved or rural providers.
Provisions in the bill would also eliminate noncompetitive renewals for the organizations, strengthen board governance rules and create a level of transparency for the quality data pulled together by the QIO.
The CMS contracts with more than 50 QIOs to oversee and improve Medicare quality. -- by Matthew DoBias