Home Health Quality Measures Under Scrutiny

Home health and other post-acute providers are on a path to being evaluated on a standardized set of quality measures, and another notable milestone is approaching.

The National Quality Forum (NQF) has announced its plan to review standardized performance measures that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is considering for use, including several that affect home health and hospice programs.

Of the approximately 130 measures being reviewed across 16 federal health programs, six specifically impact the home health quality reporting program, two involve the hospice quality reporting program and one targets oncology patients receiving hospice care, according to NQF. A handful of others touch on home health or hospice in some respect, but don’t directly impact quality data.

NQF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to proposing and endorsing gold-standard performance measures to gauge and improve U.S. health care. The Measure Applications Partnership, a committee of 150 health care leaders and experts convened by NQF, is responsible for reviewing the performance measures in question.

“MAP convenes stakeholders from across the health care continuum to come to consensus on how to best measure quality for federal health programs,” NQF President and CEO Christine K. Cassel said in a prepared statement. “Their recommendations inform future [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] rule making focused on programs integral to improving the quality of care that patients receive.”

Home health measures under consideration include four relating to the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act), which requires long-term hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies to report standardized patient assessment data.

These IMPACT-related measures include the preventable 30-day readmissions measure and the drug-regimen review conducted with follow-up for identified issues. The drug-regimen review looks at the percentage of home health care episodes in which a drug regimen review was at various points in time, such as at the resumption of care, with physician follow-up as needed.

The National Association for for Home Care & Hospice plans to submit comments on the measures prior to a Dec. 7 deadline, the provider association stated Wednesday.

Written by Kourtney Liepelt