CMS releases physician data reporting guidelines

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an initiative that will give physicians the ability voluntarily to report data on 36 new quality measures. The first phase of the Physician Voluntary Reporting Program will go into effect in January 2006. The announcement was made Friday afternoon by CMS administrator Dr. Mark McClellan. "Physicians are in the best position to know what can work best to improve their own practices and ultimately the quality of care available to all patients," Dr. McClellan said. "Through these voluntary reports by physicians on evidence-based quality measures, we can take an important step together to help them improve care, and ultimately to help make sure that they are adequately compensated for that care."

Not everybody is likely to agree with that line of argument. Like hospitals, many doctors have resisted the idea of quality reporting, countering that the data could be used to apply economic pressure on physicians and pressure practices to conform to evidence-based practice theories.

- see this press release from CMS