NQF endorses Medicare cost measure
Second try's a charm
After a negative vote in October that led to further discussions and input, the National Quality Forum (NQF) Board of Directors finally endorsed a measure related to assessing the total cost of services for hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries. The measure includes "costs incurred prior to, during, and following a hospital stay" and is used in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program and its Hospital Value-based Purchasing Program, according to a news release from NQF.
At its first pass before the board, some stakeholders were concerned that there wasn't enough risk adjustment for socioeconomic status, nor enough emphasis that the majority of cost drivers occur in post-acute settings. NQF sought more input before bringing it forward again in December.
In the news release, Christine K. Cassel, MD, president and CEO of NQF, said, "NQF works to foster constructive, collaborative discussions between knowledgeable stakeholders on the toughest issues affecting our healthcare system. The complex and controversial nature of this measure demanded further conversation, so NQF made sure members' voices were effectively heard before any endorsement decision was made."
The measure focuses on "how to hold hospitals accountable for providing high-quality, equitable care," but still recognizing that some communities, like those who are economically disadvantaged, are more challenging to treat, according to the release. Hospitals also vary in how able they are to impact what happens after the patient leaves the hospital.
NQF is working to address these issues, including creating an expert panel that will zero in on risk adjustment and socioeconomic status. It will convene in early 2014.