Hospital Groups Back NQF Report on Patient Sociodemographics

John Commins, April 16, 2014

The American Hospital Association wants CMS to adjust measures in pay-for-performance programs to reflect factors such as race and income, even though doing so "would be a complex undertaking" for everyone involved.



Rick Pollack
AHA Executive Vice President

Two hospital associations are providing a ringing endorsement of a National Quality Forum draft report that recommends risk adjusting quality measures for hospitals' patient mixes to reflect socioeconomic factors such as insurance coverage, race, and income.

The American Hospital Association on Monday sent a letter to NQF and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services urging them to act quickly on the report's recommendations.

"A large body of evidence demonstrates that sociodemographic factors such as income and insurance status affect many patient outcomes, including readmissions and costs," AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack writes in the letter.

"Sociodemographic adjustment allows for all providers to be fairly and accurately assessed on the quality of care they provide and their contribution to patient outcomes while mitigating negative unintended consequences of measurement. Identifying appropriate sociodemographic adjustments also may help to highlight the impact of those factors on patient outcomes, allowing them to be addressed."

AHA wants CMS to use the NQF guidelines to adjust measures in quality reporting and pay-for-performance programs on markers such as readmissions, even as Pollack concedes that adopting the recommendations "would be a complex undertaking" for everyone involved.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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