Payments will be tied more and more to quality and value reporting, according to CMS officials speaking at the 2009 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in Chicago.
While payment reform is necessary, it will be unequivocally linked to quality reporting as electronic data capture continues to be refined, said Barry Straube, a physician who is director and chief clinical officer in the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality at the CMS. Straube was one of three CMS officials on Tuesday conducting a panel discussion on quality and security issues addressed by the agency.
One of the agencys goals is to get the healthcare industry to a point where it is reporting quality data from electronic health records, Straube said. The agency overseeing Medicare and Medicaid, which is in the middle of a number of initiatives testing how to tie quality reporting to financial incentives, currently uses claims and other administrative data for those projects. While those programs, like the Physician Quality Reporting and the Hospital Quality initiatives, have been successful in motivating providers to report, the data capture could be more robust, Straube said. EHRs are the only way to responsibly measure quality and value reporting, he said.
Quality reporting and EHRs have been a steady theme throughout the HIMSS conference, which seems to be abuzz with talk about the federal stimulus spending package and its $19 billion impact on healthcare IT. As federal dollars are allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the CMS will be helping to tackle the challenges for healthcare providers who want to receive funding, Straube said.
The issue of defining meaningful use, one of the requirements providers have to demonstrate if they want money, is going to be a challenge, he said. The agency will be holding meetings and seeking stakeholder input to establish the definition.