NQF: 15 Home Health Quality Measures Should Be Axed

Out of 79 measures in the Home Health Quality Reporting Program, 15 are good candidates to be removed, an influential group of health care leaders is arguing.

Home health measures related to depression assessment, increase in pressure ulcers, and stabilization in bed transferring are among those that should be on the chopping block, the National Quality Forum’s (NQF) Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) states in a report released March 16.

NQF is contracted by the federal government to recommend quality measures to be used in Medicare’s public reporting and value-based payment programs. The MAP group evaluated the whole universe of quality measures at its annual convention earlier this year, and now is suggesting that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) axe 51 measures. That’s out of 240 measures being used to help determine payments in seven programs.

“Getting to measures that matter for improving patient care without creating unnecessary administrative burdens is a balancing act,” said Harold Pincus, M.D., in an NQF press release. “To get it right, we need more feedback from patients, frontline doctors and other healthcare professionals on what works and what needs improvement in health care quality measurement.”

Pincus, affiliated with Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, is co-chairman of the MAP coordinating committee. MAP consists of 150 health care leaders from 90 organizations.

Measures should no longer be used if they are not driving improvements in care or do not meet the “rigorous” requirements needed for NQF endorsement, the report states.

To move forward with the recommendations, CMS would likely need to engage in rule making.

Going forward, quality measures should support the goal of patient-centered care, MAP stated. For instance, more patient-reported outcome-based performance measures might be called for.

Of the seven health care programs considered, the Home Health Quality Reporting Program had the most measures put forward for removal. The complete list appears in Appendix B of the report.

Written by Tim Mullaney

Photo Credit: “Axe” by Rebecca Siegel, CC BY 2.0