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NQF Endorses 41 Standards of Pediatric Care

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 22, 2011

Nearly four months after the Institute of Medicine issued its report calling for quality measures to evaluate the state of pediatric care, the National Qualify Forum has endorsed 41 such standards and expects that payers will soon put most into practice.

Eventually, many are expected to be used by health insurance plans and state Medicaid programs as markers for pay for performance. Eventually, scores would be posted on HospitalCompare or PhysicianCompare.

For the first time, these measures ask for the frequency with which pediatricians and other clinicians screen newborns for hearing loss, and screen all children with audiology testing prior to their hospital departure, and again no later than three months of age.

Four measures call for evaluating the frequency in which children receive certain types of dental care, including whether their oral care visits include the use of fluoride varnish. 

"It's an exciting...opportunity to have some measures on dental care for kids, which is an important area that has not been recognized to date," Helen Burstin, MD, NQF senior vice president for performance measures, noted in an interview.

The NQF also recommended age intervals for developmental screening, blood pressure testing, vision, chlamydia screening and followup, childhood overweight or obesity, levels of physical activity, and how many children are exposed to secondary smoke inside the home.

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