Some Cancer Hospitals' Quality Data Will Soon Be Public

Cheryl Clark, August 21, 2014

By year's end, CMS intends to post quality measures for 11 major cancer centers that until now have been exempt from public reporting. But a coalition of those centers worries that the agency is focusing on the wrong measures.

Before year's end, history in cancer care quality will be made.

That's when Hospital Compare will begin to show how well 11 prominent hospitals that annually treat tens of thousands of cancer patients perform on five quality measures. Another measure will be reported the following year.


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>>>Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers

That's not all.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will require reporting for another 13 measures by FY 2017. While many of these measures resemble those now required for other hospitals, most specifically deal with healthcare services only patients with cancer might get.

The 11 major hospitals, which include MD Anderson, City of Hope, Dana-Farber, and Memorial Sloan Kettering, had been exempt from federal quality reporting required of 3,500 other major hospitals. But a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act changes that.

That's big news because spending on cancer care is estimated to approach $184 billion a year by 2020. The disease affects nearly 15 million Americans and kills nearly 600,000 a year. CMS believes that since cancer care practices vary widely, payers and patients should know what they're paying for.

Most of the quality measures about to be reported were developed or tested by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer, which accredits some 1,500 of the 2,500 hospitals that treat U.S. cancer patients.

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