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AMGA Endorses Standardized Quality Measure Set to Simplify Reporting

AMGA selected a set of 14 standardized quality measures as part of an effort to reduce administrative burden.

AMGA endorsed a list of 14 quality measures.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The American Medical Group Association (AMGA) Board of Directors recently endorsed a set of 14 standardized quality measures as part of an effort to reduce the administrative burden associated with reporting requirements.

The measure set is designed to reduce problems with duplicative measures and health data standardization.

“AMGA members report hundreds of different quality measures to various public and private payers, the vast majority of which are not useful in evaluating or improving the quality of care provided,” maintained AMGA in an emailed press release.

“There is a significant cost to measure reporting. Research has indicated that, on average, U.S. physician practices across four common specialties annually spend more than $15.4 billion and 785 hours per physician to report quality measures,” continued the association.

AMGA stated the proposed set of 14 core measures will help to save time for providers and reduce costs associated with reporting while also promoting care quality improvement.

“By offering a standard set of measures for value-based contracts with payers, the AMGA measure set will reduce the variation in the measures that are reported and help eliminate unnecessary confusion and administrative burden,” said AMGA.

The measure set includes both process and outcome measures. Process measures focus on quality improvement while outcome measures highlight the need to evaluate the way care is delivered to most effectively improve patient health.

“Used correctly, quality measures provide an opportunity to evaluate care and drive improvements,” said AMGA President and CEO Jerry Penso, MD. “But providers are saddled with too many measures that are not meaningful to how they deliver care.”

“AMGA’s measure set represents a break from that and emphasizes the importance of value measures that are evidence-based, focused on outcomes, and relevant to clinical care,” he continued.

An AMGA task force developed the simplified measure set with an eye toward streamlining reporting to curb rising rates of physician burnout.

“In addition to selecting clinically relevant measures, we chose measures that also have demonstrated results, account for patient experience, and have sufficient sample sizes to ensure statistical validity,” said AMGA task force chair and Crystal Run Healthcare Chief Quality Officer Scott Hines, MD.

“This set reflects the collective views of integrated systems and multispecialty medical groups that are leading the move to value-based care. It is not intended to replace all other measures, but instead serve as a standardized set for reporting purposes,” he continued. “Measures not included still have value when reported internally to drive quality improvement within healthcare provider organizations.”

The set includes measures related to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), emergency department use, breast cancer screening, vaccinations, pediatric care, mental health, diabetes, and other conditions and areas of care.

“AMGA members are focused on outcomes, and the measures endorsed today reflect the need for quality reporting to serve providers in achieving optimal results, instead of serving as yet another compliance exercise that does not meaningfully guide care improvements,” said Penso.

AMGA’s efforts to streamline quality reporting and narrow down quality measures to only those most valuable for yielding improvements in care quality and health outcomes aligns with the mission of the CMS Meaningful Measures initiative.

Meaningful Measures is intended to ensure quality metrics only evaluate core issues.

The initiative is emblematic of CMS’ dedication to reducing regulatory burden on providers to ensure clinicians can primarily devote their attention to patient care delivery rather than reporting requirements.

In addition to reducing the number of quality measures providers are required to report, CMS is also working to make the process of reporting easier on providers by urging health IT developers to improve EHR usability.

This emphasis on reducing provider burden at the federal level may help to tackle problems related to physician burnout and dissatisfaction with EHR technology.

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