Viewpoint: Costs associated with quality measurement missing from value-based care

There should be greater focus on understanding the costs of specific measures used in quality- and value-based delivery models, three researchers wrote in an op-ed published in JAMA.

Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, Sarah Onorato — both of Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston — and David Meltzer, MD, PhD, of the University of Chicago, argue costs associated with value measures are underused. For example, they write the National Quality Forum does not require measure developers to report cost data. In addition, CMS provides limited or does not publicly report information about its use of specific measure costs in its Hospital Value-Based Purchasing model.

"Cost estimates are needed for individual measures, as well as standards for the units, timeframe and other variables needed for valid cost comparisons across measures," the authors write. "Organizations endorsing measures should include cost estimates in measure descriptions." The authors said these organizations could schedule deadlines to begin including cost information in measure submissions, or pilot a program to examine specification for cost information and create methods to collect it.

The authors offer three benefits of analyzing and comparing costs between specific measures:

  • Provider and payers could use the information to prioritize measures
  • Cost estimation could facilitate understanding about the expense of quality measurement
  • Transparent measurement costs could incentivize creation of more cost-effective data collection

For the full op-ed, click here

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