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NQF Releases Updated List of Measures to Advance Rural Health Priorities

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Nearly 1 in 5 Americans lives in rural areas. Providers in rural areas face unique challenges in delivering high quality healthcare, such as long distances to facilities, limited staff and infrastructure, and low case-volume issues which limit quality measurement efforts. To address this national priority, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) funded the National Quality Forum (NQF) to reconvene the Rural Health Advisory Group to update a 2018 list of key rural measures. This list represents the best-available, scientifically valid measures that address conditions and topics important to rural patients and are resistant to low case-volume challenges.

NQF released a report which describes the selection criteria and processes used to generate the key rural measures list. It also presents the final 37-measure list of key rural measures, including 21 hospital setting measures and 16 ambulatory care setting measures. Finally, it summarizes measurement gap areas identified by the Advisory Group and identifies recommendations for future quality measurement in rural settings. The list of key rural measures can be used by stakeholders to guide performance and quality improvement efforts in rural areas.

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