A new National Quality Forum (NQF) report recommends integration of rural healthcare providers into federal public reporting and value-based payment programs. The report, which summarizes the recommendations of a multi-stakeholder Rural Health Committee convened by NQF, notes the urgency for integrating rural providers into Medicare quality improvement programs in light of recent Congressional legislative actions and efforts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to accelerate a timeframe for paying providers based on quality and cost.
Although rural hospitals and clinicians participate in a variety of private-sector, state, and federal quality measurement and improvement efforts, many CMS quality initiatives exclude some rural hospitals and clinicians because of how these providers are paid or measurement challenges. According to the report, such exclusion may affect the ability of these providers to identify and address opportunities for improvement and deny rural residents access to data about provider performance. In addition, exclusion from the CMS quality programs denies rural providers the ability to earn payment incentives that are open to other providers.
Read full report: Rural Health Final Report