Joint Commission: Hospitals overly optimistic about ability to report eCQMs

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Hospitals paint a rosier picture of their ability to submit electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) than the facts indicate, according to a new survey released by The Joint Commission.

The 2016 final inpatient prospective payment systems rule requires hospitals participating in the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program to submit four eCQMs for patients discharged during either the third or fourth quarter of 2016 by Feb. 28, 2017. The survey, created by the commission in collaboration with the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals, surveyed 319 hospitals to gauge their readiness to meet the requirements.

The results were a bit mixed. Almost all (95.2 percent) of the respondents were aware of the reporting requirement and 86 percent said that they would report. Eighty-seven percent felt that the Feb. 28 deadline was achievable, while 76 percent believed they had the skill level and knowledge to report and 64 percent said they could afford the IT support necessary.

However, only 48.4 percent thought they could extract all of the needed data. Only 43.3 percent could generate the necessary QRDA category 1 documents; 58 percent could not or don’t know if they could do so. Seventy-one percent have not or don’t know if they have successfully generated one in the past, and 87 percent have not successfully submitted eCQM patient level data.

Moreover, only 52 percent said that their EHR vendor would provide them with such support.

The respondents also identified a number of challenges to compliance, including timelines, expenses, IT work needed and the need to change EHR systems in order to produce the documents.

The hospitals weren’t even on the same page regarding the costs of reporting. Thirty-seven percent agreed or strongly agreed that accepting the payment reduction was more costly than implementing and reporting eCQMs; 30.2 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with that, and 32.5 percent didn’t know.

Only 18.3 percent were confident that the data accurately reflects the quality of care.

While "many hospitals feel the 2017 deadline is achievable, [they] may not be as ready as they think they are," the report states. "Only 13 percent have successfully submitted patient level data to CMS. The lack of time, education, and resources makes for a difficult timeline.  Many responders comments involved the need to change EHR vendors to be compliant.”

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- check out the slides of the results