Practice Economics

Feds release quality data on diabetes, heart disease, infections



Medicare officials have released a slew of new data demonstrating physicians’ and hospitals’ performance on quality measures related to diabetes, cardiovascular care, and hospital-acquired infections and injuries.

The quality data were posted on Medicare’s Physician Compare and Hospital Compare websites, which aim to provide consumers with the information they need to help them select physicians and other health care providers. The information is also available on

“The Compare sites empower consumers with information to help with health care decisions, encourage providers to strive for higher levels of quality, drive overall health system improvement,” Dr. Patrick Conway, chief medical officer and deputy administrator for innovation and quality at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, wrote in a blog post.

Dr. Patrick Conway

Dr. Patrick Conway

For physicians, CMS is posting four measures related to diabetes and heart disease: controlling hemoglobin A1c (less than 8%); controlling blood pressure; prescribing aspirin to patients with diabetes and ischemic vascular disease; and prescribing ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers for patients with coronary artery disease and diabetes or left ventricular systolic dysfunction.

The data come from 139 physician group practices, 214 shared savings program accountable care organizations, and 23 Pioneer ACOs.

To make the data more user-friendly, CMS uses stars, followed by a percentage score, to show group performance on individual measures. For instance, if a practice scored 80% on a measure, four stars would be shown along with the 80% score.

This is the second time that CMS officials have added quality data to Physician Compare – the first posting was in February 2014. CMS plans to expand the number of quality measures and the number of providers who are listed on the website. By late 2015, CMS plans to post quality data for group practices of all sizes and some data on individual physicians.

For hospitals, CMS posted performance on reducing hospital-acquired conditions, including central line–associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, and accidental punctures and lacerations.

The agency also added data from its Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, including 30-day readmission rates following elective and primary total hip and/or total knee replacement and the 30-day rate of unplanned readmission for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

CMS also released data on payment adjustments made as part of the 2015 Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program, which ties payment to performance on certain quality measures. In fiscal year 2015 – the third year of the program – 1,714 hospitals will see their payments go up as a result of bonus payments from the program, compared with 1,375 that will see their payments decline, according to CMS.

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