MUCking Around for New Quality Measures

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , December 12, 2013

'Tis the season when CMS looks at a long list of proposed quality measures, any one of which might reveal which healthcare providers are delivering care that is very, very good.

Once again, it's the merry measure maker's favorite time of year.

'Tis the season when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services wraps up a big jolly package of paradigms, any one of which might reveal which healthcare providers are delivering care that is very, very good…

…and which are performing, well, not so good.

The CMS package is called the MUC, for the Measures Under Consideration (PDF) report for 2013, which federal law mandates that CMS publish each December 1.

This year, the third year of the MUC, the 407-page opus lists 234 protocols that CMS or any number of medical groups, quality organizations, or other federal agencies want to see codified in pay for reporting or pay for performance algorithms, or just for public reporting, period.

These stakeholders made a good enough case to CMS that a candidate protocol is a plausible if not excellent method to rate quality, and thus deserves special scrutiny and testing by experts to see if it's really ready for prime time.

This year, the candidate measures purport to extend beyond the current fare of pneumonia, heart attack and stroke measures. Providers would be scored on whether they administered appropriate evaluations and treatments to patients with cancer or cataract and retinal problems, diabetes, stroke, and many other diseases and conditions.

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