During the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network Fall Summit, Seema Verma, MPH, administrator of CMS, announced the launch of CMS’s new comprehensive initiative, “Meaningful Measures,” which takes a new approach on quality measures to reduce the regulatory burden imposed upon all physicians.
“Regulations have their place and are important to ensuring quality, integrity and safety in our health care system,” Verma said. “But, if rules are misguided, outdated, or are too complex, they can have a suffocating effect on health care delivery by shifting the focus of providers away from the patient and toward unnecessary paperwork, and ultimately increase the cost of care.”
The goal of Meaningful Measures is to repair the doctor-patient relationship and help physicians put patients first and deliver the best quality care, Verma said.
Meaningful Measures will focus on achieving results, rather than micromanaging and measuring processes, she said. Verma reasoned that this method will support safeguarding public health issues, such as the opioid crisis in which President Donald J. Trump recently declared a “public health emergency.”
The initiative will also develop quality measures that promote meaningful outcomes for patients, families and providers, Verma said.
In addition to Meaningful Measures, CMS plans to steer the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) on a new path to enhance flexibility and patient engagement and just recently launched “Patients Over Paperwork” to further address regulatory burden, according to Verma.
In a letter to Verma, the American College of Physicians (ACP) applauded CMS’s Meaningful Measures and Patients Over Paperwork initiatives, stating that these initiatives are in line with its own goals.
“ACP has long been in favor of trying to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on physicians,” Jack Ende, MD, MACP, president of ACP, wrote. “We agree with the administration that overly burdensome administrative tasks interfere with the patient-physician relationship, diverting the physician’s time and attention away from the actual patient care. It is important to minimize these distractions to avoid negatively impacting patient care.”
ACP expressed excitement in collaborating with CMS on its Meaningful Measures initiative and advised that the agency use the measures in all of its programs, including the Quality Payment Program.
“We need to ensure that we are moving toward clinical outcomes, patient- and family- centeredness measures, care coordination measures, and measures of population health and prevention that do not create unintended adverse consequences,” Ende wrote. – by Alaina Tedesco
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