CMS updates eCQMs for eligible professionals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has posted its annual update of 2014 electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) for eligible professionals and corresponding specifications for electronic reporting.

The new eCQMs include updated terminologies, logic corrections and intent clarifications, and were made "to ensure that the measure representation and recent code system versions reflect the best understanding of standards and logic, and remain relevant and actionable within the clinical care setting," the agency stated on its website. 

Eligible professionals and eligible hospitals are to submit CQMs electronically beginning in CY/FY 2014. Electronic specifications have been developed for each CQM.

The eCQM specifications are used for multiple reporting programs, including the electronic health record incentive program and the Physician Quality Reporting System, and increasingly align both to reduce physicians' reporting burdens, according to CMS.

CMS will accept all versions of eCQMs for Meaningful Use reporting so long as they are at least certified to the specifications published in its December 2012 interim final rule. However, CMS "strongly encourages" using the updated version.

The updated specifications can't be used before the 2015 reporting period.

CMS updated eCQMs for eligible hospitals in April.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently chastised CMS because the CQMs being collected suffered from reliability issues. GAO recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services develop a strategy to better ensure the reliability of the data being collected and develop and use outcome oriented performance measures to monitor progress towards its goals, including improved quality of care.

To learn more:
- view the eCQM updates

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