Leapfrog disputes CMS' plan to remove some safety, infection stats from quality reporting

Leapfrog is urging CMS not to withhold information on infection rates and safety incidents by removing measures from its quality reporting programs, calling the proposal a threat to transparency in hospitals.

Seven things to know:

1. The hospital ratings agency is requesting signatures from the public on a letter to CMS to protest the proposed rule. "We are asking that supporters of transparency send a letter (or sign ours) commenting on this year's CMS proposed rule for the Inpatient Prospective Payment System," the group wrote.

2. The proposed rule would remove certain measures from the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, including the following infection measures: catheter-associated urinary tract infection, Clostridium difficile, central line-associated bloodstream infection, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, surgical site infections for hysterectomies and colon procedures and postoperative sepsis rates.

3. One reason CMS is proposing to remove infections from the IQR is to reduce the amount of time hospitals spend counting them.

4. CMS is proposing to remove a patient safety composite measure from the IQR that shows the rates of accidents and injuries common in hospitals.

5. The proposed rule would also mean each of these safety measures would be confined to one Obamacare payment program — a move that would reduce financial penalties for hospitals with infections and errors. "Infection and other safety measures should be included in all payment programs, because quality and cost-effectiveness are nullified when safety is absent," Leapfrog wrote. "No hospital should be paid a reward for excellence if they have a high preventable infection rate."

6. The proposal to remove these measures from the IQR means recent data on a hospital's infection rates and patient safety information may no longer be available to the public, the group said. "The public deserves full transparency of safety and quality measures, and a full commitment to the IQR."

7. Leapfrog is accepting signatures until June 22 and plans to send the letter to CMS June 25.


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