TMA, AMA: Change Medicare Data Reporting

Public reports on Medicare and private payer data must be valid, reliable, and actionable, the Texas Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and 80 other physician organizations told the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in comments on Medicare's proposed rules for reporting performance measurement data.

The organizations applauded the inclusion of safeguards that protect patients and physicians in the rule, but said several critical issues must be resolved for physician measurement and public reporting to be effective.

In their letter, the organizations called on CMS to make sure that physicians can review their data for accuracy and appeal any errors before the information becomes public. They also urged CMS to standardize the process for developing the public reports and the type of information they will include, not only across the Medicare system but for private insurance data, as well.

The comment letter provides detailed recommendations to CMS on additional safeguards and ways to standardize the data collection to help in developing meaningful, actionable reports.

"Physicians and patients must be able to trust the quality performance determinations presented in these reports, and not have to decipher conflicting reports that present different conclusions due to a lack of applying accurate, transparent, and consistent risk-adjustment and attribution methods," they wrote. "Without standardization of risk-adjustment and attribution methods, there inherently will be multiple and conflicting performance reports for the same physician. This will undermine the goals of public reports resulting in actionable determinations by patients and physicians, as well as improved quality of care."

Action, Aug. 15, 2011