Looking to prevent a significant labor and cost burden on America's hospitals, CEOs from 17 hospitals and health systems sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week, strongly objecting to some of the required date reporting included in the 2009 proposed Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule. The 17 CEOs represent more than 100 hospitals—all members of the Premier healthcare alliance.
Some of the measures that hospitals would be required to report under the 2009 IPPS rule are those collected by the Society for Thoracic Surgeons' database, says Charles Hart, MD, CEO of Regional Health in Rapid City, SD, and chair of Premier's Quality Improvement Committee. STS is a private, proprietary database that hospitals must pay to participate in. Many hospitals already collect this data, Hart says, but for those who don't, being required to do so will mean a significant cost increase and need for additional personnel.
"There's certainly routine agreement in the medical field that it's an excellent database," Hart says, but he and the 16 other CEOs who signed the letter fear that the STS database is the first of many that CMS could require hospitals to participate in. While the CEOs are in favor of more transparency and data reporting, Hart says, they asked CMS to come up with a way to automate reporting requirements and lessen the burden on healthcare organizations.
"We'd much rather spend our time looking at the data to see how we can improve instead of spending our time collecting this information," Hart says.
Premier also sent a separate letter to the National Quality Forum (NQF) opposing the use of any quality measures that depend on proprietary methodologies or tools as contrary to the public interest and evidence-based quality improvement.
"Private-sector innovation can contribute valuable methodologies that enhance quality measures, and that innovation should be encouraged," says Blair Childs, Premier healthcare alliance senior vice president of public affairs. "However, measures subject to public reporting, and those used as a basis of reimbursement, must be fully transparent to providers and the general public. Monopolistic suppliers of quality measures that are required in public programs are unacceptable."
Maureen Larkin is quality editor with HealthLeaders magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.