When quality metrics are too numerous or complicated, they create ‘roadblocks to quality care,’ said the CMS administrator.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma renewed her commitment Monday to reshaping the U.S. healthcare delivery system into one that values quality over quantity.
Delivering prepared remarks at the CMS Quality Conference in Baltimore, Verma cited the progress CMS has made in her less-than-one-year on the job and outlined the agency’s path forward under direction from the Trump administration and Alex Azar, the new Health and Human Services secretary.
“Let me be clear: Moving away from fee-for-service is something that Secretary Azar and I are committed to, and ensuring quality is an essential component of this,” Verma said. “We want to support quality, but there have been unintended negative consequences of too many quality measures.”
“When a provider has to spend more time looking at a screen than engaging with a patient, or spend more time reporting data than actually providing care, then we’re collecting measures at the expense of patients,” she said to applause.
“When there are too many measures or measures are too complex, then we’re actually creating roadblocks to quality care,” Verma added.
She cited the CMS “Meaningful Measures” initiative, which the agency announced last fall, as one of the core components of its mission to focus on quality metrics that pertain to outcomes without obsessing over process.
The agency put out a request for information on the initiative, and Verma said Monday that feedback from physicians must remain central.
“I promise that this will always be a partnership, a dialogue. This won’t be Washington simply telling you what to do,” she said. “Working together, I know we can always put the patient first.”
We’ve already achieved some results!— Administrator Seema Verma (@SeemaCMS) February 12, 2018
-We removed a number of hospital measures, resulting in an estimated burden reduction of almost half a million provider hours.
-We changed home health quality reporting, saving more than $145 million per year. #PatientsOverPaperwork
Steven Porter is editor at HealthLeaders.