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Alliance adopts a uniform set of clinical pay-for-performance measures

From the June ACP Observer, copyright © 2005 by the American College of Physicians.

A broad alliance of national health care stakeholders, including ACP, recently approved a uniform set of clinically relevant performance measures. The measurement set could be incorporated in pay-for-performance programs throughout the country as early as next year.

The "starter set" of 26 measures was approved by the Ambulatory Care Quality Alliance (AQA), a collaboration of key national medical and quality organizations, health plans, purchasers, government agencies and accrediting organizations that began meeting last year.


At Annual Session, Kevin B. Weiss, FACP, discusses performance measurement.



Alliance members wanted to reach consensus on a measurement set to be used by the proliferating number of pay-for-performance programs. That consensus will help standardize performance measurement programs and reduce administrative burdens for physicians who participate in those programs.

ACP has played a key leadership role in AQA by serving on the alliance's steering committee since its inception. According to an open letter to College members posted on ACP Online, "ACP believes that the adoption of appropriate quality improvement and accountability measures, if done right, can result in better care for patients, increased patient and physician satisfaction, and potentially, improved reimbursement linked to quality." The May 3 letter was signed by College President C. Anderson Hedberg, FACP; Donna E. Sweet, FACP, Chair of the Board of Regents; and John Tooker, FACP, the College's Chief Executive Officer.

The approved set includes measures that target cancer screening, vaccinations, chronic care and prenatal care, as well as efficiency measures that address overuse and misuse. This initial set will rely primarily on readily-available administrative data to reduce physicians' burden of having to extract chart data.

Kevin B. Weiss, FACP, chair of AQA's performance measures workgroup, also serves as Chair of the ACP Performance Measures Subcommittee (PMSC), which supports College policy through the critical review, development and dissemination of physician clinical performance measures.

Dr. Weiss' dual role has helped ACP play a large part in AQA deliberations leading up to the starter set's final selection and announcement. The PMSC provided input throughout the AQA development process, reviewing the near-final list of measures and providing recommendations on those measures to be retained or dropped from the final set.

As the AQA measures are implemented, the PMSC will continue to closely monitor the impact on College members. The PMSC will also continue to research measures of overuse and misuse, as well as other ways to assess clinical efficiency.

More information on ACP's Performance Measures Subcommittee is online.

For more information on AQA, see "Market forces now pushing pay-for-performance" in the May ACP Observer.

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