Push to Improve Nation's Health Care Quality Continues

CMS Releases 2016 Quality Strategy

December 08, 2015 02:11 pm News Staff
[Male writing

CMS recently made public the 2016 iteration of an annual report that outlines its quality strategy for the U.S. health care delivery system for the coming year.

According to the report, CMS takes its charge as "driver" of the nation's health care quality improvement seriously and considers the task a core function of its work.

To that end, authors of CMS Quality Strategy 2016(www.cms.gov) noted that the 2016 strategy aims to

  • achieve better overall health care by making that care more person-centered, reliable, accessible and safe;
  • keep people and communities healthier by supporting proven interventions that address behavioral, social and environmental determinants of health; and
  • spur smarter spending of health care dollars that ultimately will reduce the cost of health care for everyone.

"And we are making progress," wrote CMS Chief Medical Officer and Acting Deputy Administrator Patrick Conway, M.D., in a blog(blog.cms.gov) posted the same day CMS released the quality report.

It's important to note that in January 2015, the administration set a pair of overarching goals for moving toward value-based payment within the Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) system and invited private sector payers to match or exceed those goals.

Goal one is to tie 30 percent of Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models by the end of 2016 and 50 percent by the end of 2018.

The second goal calls for 85 percent of all Medicare FFS payments to be tied to quality or value by the end of 2016 and 90 percent by the end of 2018.

"We are working with public and private partners to build a health care delivery system that delivers improved care, spends health care dollars more wisely and makes communities healthier," Conway wrote.

He outlined CMS' six priorities moving forward and said meeting those goals would

  • make health care safer by reducing harm caused during health care delivery;
  • ensure that patients and their families are engaged in patient care;
  • utilize effective communication and coordination of care;
  • promote the most effective prevention and treatment practices for the leading causes of mortality, beginning with cardiovascular disease;
  • work with communities to instill widespread adoption of best practices that will lead to healthy living; and
  • make quality health care affordable for all through the development and implementation of more effective health care delivery models.

Conway listed some of the methods CMS will employ to reach those goals. For instance, the agency will measure and report on health care providers' quality performance, as well as the cost of services provided.

In addition, to aid physicians, hospitals and other health care providers on their quality journey, CMS will provide technical assistance; foster learning networks; reward value over volume of care; listen to the voices of those who provide health care, as well as those who receive that care; and collaborate across government agencies, as well as with external stakeholders.

"We are excited to put the updated 2016 CMS Quality Strategy into action so we can do our part to transform health care," Conway concluded.

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