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NQF Endorses Readmissions Measures

June 29, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The non-profit based National Quality Forum Board of Directors voted this week to uphold its initial decision to endorse an all-cause hospital-wide readmissions measure developed by Yale University and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Board’s decision to endorse this measure was challenged through NQF’s official appeal process by seven hospital systems.

During deliberations, the Board reaffirmed the important differences between the measure endorsement process, which thoroughly vets the properties of a measure, and that of the Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) whose role is to advise both public and private sectors on best use of measures in payment and public reporting programs. The Board requested MAP to convene a special session over the summer to consider the complex issue of how to use this new measure as part of a broader set of care coordination measures applicable to all types of providers.

Additionally, CMS agreed to defer use of this particular readmission measure in the new CMS Readmissions Reduction Program until MAP had deliberated and recommended back to CMS its advice on the measure’s optimal use. CMS also reaffirmed its previous commitment to provide findings of the dry run back to NQF’s expert steering committee that reviewed and voted to endorse this measure within one year.

The Board also weighed concerns raised about how to approach the issue of achieving consensus, as part of NQF’s Consensus Development Process, when there appears to be a split in NQF’s membership. Membership voting is one step of the consensus development process. T

“NQF greatly appreciates and takes to heart the comments and concerns raised throughout this project, both about the potential use of this new measure and how consensus was achieved,” Janet Corrigan, CEO and President of NQF, said in a statement. “We put great faith in our members and multistakeholder, expert committees to help us make decisions that are in the best interests of achieving a higher-value, safer healthcare system. This current project shows that reaching consensus is difficult, but any process that balances multistakeholder interests yields important results.”

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