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NQF Endorses Behavioral Health Measures

November 5, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The National Quality Forum (NQF) Board of Directors has endorsed 10 quality measures focused on behavioral health, focused on issues such as alcohol and tobacco abuse, antipsychotic medication adherence, and post care follow-up after hospitalization for mental illness.

"Improving behavioral health services and outcomes, especially for individuals suffering from mental illness or substance abuse, is a national priority," Helen Burstin, M.D., senior vice president for performance measures at NQF, said in a statement. "These endorsed measures will be integral to this effort, giving providers new tools to ensure patients receive appropriate, compassionate, and high-quality care."

According to the World Health Organization, more than 26 percent of the U.S. population suffers from mental illness and substance abuse. Six percent of the population suffer from a serious mental illness, the organization says. Many, the WHO says, die 25 years earlier than the general population.

"Because many people are dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues, the health care community is working to offer more comprehensive support and improved care across the country," stated Peter Briss, M.D., medical director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and co-chair of the Behavioral Health Endorsement Steering Committee. "These measures – rigorously evaluated by a diverse panel of experts – will help to improve quality of care delivered to these people."

NQF says 22 measures were submitted for evaluation against its endorsement criteria. Eleven were withdrawn from consideration or deferred and 10 measures – including six new submissions – were endorsed. The measures, per NQF, are below.

Endorsed Measures

  • 0004: Initiation and Engagement of Alcohol and Other Drug Dependence Treatment (NCQA)
  • 0027: Medical Assistance With Smoking and Tobacco Use Cessation (NCQA)
  • 0028: Preventive Care & Screening: Tobacco Use: Screening & Cessation Intervention (AMA-PCPI)
  • 1879: Adherence to Antipsychotic Medications for Individuals with Schizophrenia (CMS)
  • 1932: Diabetes screening for people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who are prescribed antipsychotic medications (SSD) (NCQA)
  • 1927: Cardiovascular health screening for people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who are prescribed antipsychotic medications (NCQA)
  • 1933: Cardiovascular health monitoring for people with cardiovascular disease and schizophrenia (SMC) (NCQA)
  • 1934: Diabetes monitoring for people with diabetes and schizophrenia (NCQA)
  • 1937: Follow-Up After Hospitalization for Schizophrenia (7- and 30-day) (NCQA)
  • 0576: Follow-Up After Hospitalization for Mental Illness (NCQA)
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