Former CMS Head: Tie Doc Payment Reforms To Patient Outcomes

A former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator told the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday that Medicare should focus on fewer quality measures in their assessments, letting patient outcomes dictate what constitutes quality care instead.

CQ HealthBeat: Medicare Doc Payment Bill May Be Vehicle To Tighten Quality Measurement
Medicare and other insurers should sharply reduce the number of measures they use to assess the quality of care so that they focus on a few pivotal outcomes of treatment -- not on how care is delivered. That was the message delivered in testimony Wednesday before a Senate Finance Committee hearing that included sometimes blistering criticism of the state of the national quality improvement movement (Reichard, 6/26).

Medpage Today: Align Doc Pay With Outcomes, Congress Told
Quality measures in health care still need refining, and in the meantime Congress needs to make outcomes align better with physician payment reforms, a former Medicare chief told lawmakers Wednesday. Payment reforms need to include more efforts that focus on the episode or person level of care because that's where true gains in improving quality can be made, Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from 2004 to 2006, said. Meanwhile, quality measurements can be refined to better track quality, McClellan told the Senate Finance Committee during a hearing on measuring quality in health care. Quality should also be based on patient outcomes -- and not processes (Pittman, 6/26).

A new bill would pay some on Medicare to improve their health --

The Hill: New Bill Would Pay Seniors For Staying Healthy
New bipartisan legislation introduced Wednesday would allow Medicare to pay seniors if they improve and maintain their health. The measure from Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) would create a new program within Medicare to pay seniors hundreds of dollars for meeting certain health criteria (Viebeck, 6/26).

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