CMS pilot calls for electronic reporting of clinical quality measures

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' final rule updating the hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) and payment rates contains a tidbit designed to make meeting Meaningful Use easier. The rule finalizes the launch of a pilot program that would allow for the electronic reporting of clinical quality measures (CQMs) under the electronic health record incentive program.

The final rule with comment period, released Nov. 1, will allow eligible and critical access hospitals to report CQMs electronically to meet that core objective for Meaningful Use of their EHR systems, instead of having to calculate the CQM results and attesting to them. If a hospital reported the CQMs electronically, CMS would calculate the results for them. If, based on CMS' calculations, a hospital doesn't meet the CQMs, it still would have the opportunity to measure them itself and attest to the results.

If the hospital successfully reports the CQMs electronically, it would meet that core objective, but still would need to meet and attest to the other core and menu set objectives required under the EHR program.

The pilot program would help hospitals test the interoperability and functionality of their certified EHR systems and help advance EHR reporting, according to the rule. Participation in the pilot would be voluntary.

CMS reported in the final rule that it had received a lot of industry support for the pilot, which it had suggested in its proposed OPPS rule released July 18. The agency acknowledged that it anticipated only those hospitals that are the most ready to transmit this information electronically would participate in the pilot, but encouraged hospitals to participate for the "valuable learning process." CMS also indicated that it would provide education, outreach and testing of the reporting pilot.

Comments on the final rule will be accepted through January 3, 2012.

To learn more:
- read the final rule (.pdf) 
- here's a summary