Feds consider restructuring Medicare quality program

Two U.S. Senators have introduced legislation intended to tighten up the $400 million program responsible for providing Medicare technical assistance. The Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) was created 25 years ago to improve services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries.

HHS secretary Michael Leavitt had issue plans to improve the program about one year. Leavitt's proposal was responding to congressional criticism of the QIO program. However, at the time he also emphasized the critical role QIOs were playing in training physician offices to adopt health information technology.

The bill, by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), would boost the QIOs' role in helping providers offer higher-quality care, and develop better performance measures. Some traditional QIO roles, including complaint investigations, would be transferred to other organizations.

To learn more about the quality program changes:
- read this Healthcare IT News article

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