Providers are hoping that the CMS will change course on quality-measure reporting requirements outlined in a proposed 2016 prospective payment rule for acute and long-term-care hospitals.
The CMS plans to require inpatient hospitals to submit details on meeting several new quality metrics by Oct. 1, 2017.
Providers are concerned because the suggested quality measures lack endorsement by the National Quality Forum, which is viewed by industry and regulators as having the gold standard for endorsing best practices that ensure the health of patients.
That lack of endorsement gives the field "limited insight on whether the measures are reliable, accurate and feasible enough for public reporting programs,” the American Hospital Association said in a comment letter. “The measures also do not seem to be focused on any concrete national priority area or goal for improving care.”
The quality measures are tied to the treatment of several conditions including kidney and urinary tract infections, bleeding in the intestines, lumbar spine fusion and hip replacements, among others.
“(The) CMS provides little explanation for why (these) conditions covered by its Medicare spending measures are more important to address with measures in the IQR program than other conditions,” the AHA added.
In the rule making, HHS said the secretary has discretion over which quality metrics to track if it will improve patient safety, even if the metrics haven't been endorsed by the NQF.
Others were concerned about a push in the rule to report progress on meeting certain quality standards electronically starting fiscal year 2018.
“We remain concerned about outstanding issues with the reliability of data produced from certified EHR technology,” America's Essential Hospitals, which represents the nation's safety net organizations, said in a comment letter. “(The) CMS should adopt a validation process and conduct robust testing that would ensure data being extracted from (EHRs) are accurate.”
The CMS took comments on the proposed rules through June 16 and plans to issue a final rule by Aug. 1. It received more than 300 comments, though it had posted only a few as of Monday.