The Leapfrog Group came out against a CMS proposal to remove safety measures from two of its quality reporting programs, arguing the move is a blow to transparency.
The CMS in late April proposed eliminating six infection measures from the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program and two safety measures from the Long Term Care Quality Reporting Program. The CMS claimed the measures are burdensome on providers either because its Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program already tracks them or the cost of the metric outweighs the benefit.
In total, the CMS wanted to eliminate 19 measures and remove 21 duplicative measures among its five quality and value-based purchasing programs. The proposal was part of the CMS' annual proposed rule for the inpatient and long-term care prospective payment systems.
The Leapfrog Group, a not-for-profit that advocates for transparency in healthcare, argued in a letter to the CMS that removing the eight safety measures will stifle transparency around patient safety issues at facilities.
The Leapfrog Group claimed that without these measures, the public has no way of knowing how hospitals and long-term care providers perform on infections.
"Although the proposed rule would preserve some measures in one of the CMS payment programs, that's no substitute for letting consumers decide for themselves how well a hospital is doing by making the information publicly available," the Leapfrog Group said.
The group also opposed the CMS' proposal to remove seven healthcare-associated infection and patient safety measures from the Hospital Value-based Purchasing Program because they are already in the HAC Reduction Program.
"Quality and cost-effectiveness are nullified when safety is absent; it is critical that infections and other safety measures be included in all payment programs," the group said. "No hospital should be paid a reward for excellence in the VBP Program if they have a high rate of preventable infections."
The Leapfrog Group plans to submit the letter to the CMS on June 25. It's accepting signatures from the public for the letter until June 22.