AHA urges CMS: Use only quality measures that matter

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In a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma sent Tuesday, the American Hospital Association asked CMS to "use only measures that truly matter."

CMS currently publishes information on nearly 90 quality measures, as well as star ratings and other information. "All of this provides a complex, confusing and sometimes conflicting set of signals to the public about a hospital's quality," the letter reads.

The AHA urged CMS to work with different stakeholder groups to "identify what the critical indicators of quality and safety are that would be useful" for patients.

Determining the metrics that matter has been an ongoing issue in the industry. In October, executives from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston laid out eight key points on how hospital quality measures can improve. And in December 2016 the National Quality Forum published a guide focused on reducing the unintended variation in quality measures.

In addition to asking CMS to identify and use measures that matter, the AHA also asked the agency to "remove faulty hospital quality measures" — specifically any measures added to the inpatient quality reporting and outpatient quality reporting programs on or after Aug. 1, 2014.

Also related to quality measurement, the AHA would like CMS to suspend regulatory requirements to submit electronic clinical quality measures. According to a recent survey, few hospital leaders plan to use eCQM data to improve care quality.

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