Home Health Quality Has Improved, CMS Reports

When it comes to quality reporting, health care providers, including home health agencies, are performing better on process measures than clinical outcomes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a report released this week.

The 2015 National Impact Assessment of the CMS Quality Measures Report assesses the quality of care delivered across a range of programs and settings, including home health agencies, hospitals, nursing homes, as well as dialysis facilities and Medicare Part C plans.

It quantitatively evaluates provider performance between 2006 and 2012 in the aspects of health care and outcomes tracked by CMS quality measures via the Home Health Quality Reporting Program and similar programs for other provider types.

Across 119 quality measures examined throughout the quality reporting programs, 95% showed improvement over a period of three to six years across all providers. While only 35% of measures were classified as “high performing, 91% of the measures not considered “high performing” showed an increase during that time frame.

Additionally, in each of the seven programs examined, 89% – 100% of the measures demonstrated an increase over the three to six years of available data.

“Thus, broad evidence supports that quality of care and patient outcomes are improving over time, although more process measures than outcome measures were substantially improving over the study period,” CMS stated in the report.

Among process measures, 75% were classified as “high performing” or “substantially improving,” compared with 20% of outcome measures classified in these same categories.

CMS has been collecting and reporting standardized data measuring the quality of health care services for more than a decade, as a strategy for increasing transparency and facilitating improvements in care delivery.

Late last month, the federal agency revealed how it plans to further enhance quality performance among health care providers, home health care included, through the collection of standardized data assessments in accordance with the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014.

Overall, the results from the 2015 Report suggest that the CMS quality measurement programs are associated with improvements across all health care programs.

“While CMS is phasing out process measures and moving toward developing additional outcome measures, retaining process measures will provide timely information on the process of quality improvement efforts,” CMS stated.

Written by Jason Oliva

Jason Oliva

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