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NQF Completes Review of 32 Quality Measures to Consider Removing From Federal Health Programs

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The Measure Applications Partnership (MAP), a public-private partnership of diverse healthcare stakeholders convened by the National Quality Forum (NQF), released its recommendations on performance measures to be used in public reporting and federal performance-based payment programs. MAP reviewed 32 healthcare quality and efficiency measures used across seven different federal programs and recommended three for removal, four for removal under certain conditions, nine for retention, and 16 for conditional retention.

NQF convenes MAP in partnership with, and funding from, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to provide input to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on performance measures. MAP involves approximately 150 healthcare leaders and experts representing nearly 90 private-sector organizations from across the healthcare ecosystem, as well as liaisons from seven federal agencies. The MAP Coordinating Committee oversees three Workgroups and two Advisory Groups to provide a variety of stakeholder perspectives.

This marks the first time MAP has had the opportunity to provide recommendations on the potential removal of measures. With the goal of increasing efficiency, easing measurement burden, and improving alignment, NQF partnered with CMS to develop and pilot the Measure Set Review (MSR) process, which expands MAP review to include consideration of measures for both retention and removal based on predefined criteria. Following the successful pilot in fall 2021, MAP executed a full MSR cycle in 2022.

The 32 measures reviewed during this cycle are used in CMS’ Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting Program, Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting Program, Prospective Payment System-Exempt Cancer Hospital Quality Reporting Program, Medicare Shared Savings Program, Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, Home Health Quality Reporting Program, and Hospice Quality Reporting Program.

MAP recommendations take into account a number of factors, including how each measure contributes to the overall goals and objectives of a given program, the impact on patient health outcomes, the overall measurement burden, and whether other measures may be adequate to address a particular area of concern. Conditional recommendations may be made for a variety of reasons, such as a need for additional data, or a lack of appropriate replacement measures.

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