A relatively small number of physicians participated in a voluntary program last year that provides a small bonus payment to practices that report on quality measures, according to data released by the CMS.
Preliminary data on the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, or PQRI, show that 99,000 physicians, nonphysician practitioners or therapists16% of the eligible professionals who could have reported quality data on 74 quality measuressubmitted this data at least once in 2007.
This information was included in a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) from acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems. The preliminary findings reflect data collected from July 1, 2007, the start of the reporting period, through Nov. 30, 2007. The proof lies in results, and CMS must now take important steps to improve how it collects information about provider performance and expand opportunities for doctors to participate, Baucus said in a written statement on the findings.
Several specialties: anesthesiology, ophthalmology and emergency medicine, had higher than average rates of participation in the PQRI. Physicians who successfully reported a designated set of quality measures on claims during this period were eligible for a bonus payment, subject to a cap, of 1.5% of total allowed charges for covered Medicare physician fee-schedule services.
The 2008 PQRI reporting periodwhich spans the entire calendar yearwill offer the same bonus payment for reporting on 119 measures. -- by Jennifer Lubell