Generate solutions and policy recommendations
On April 11, 2022, the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) announced that it had launched a new task force, aimed at developing recommendations on how to successfully collect and electronically report the quality of care of ACOs through to disparate health information technology (IT) systems. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has set a goal to fully transition to digital quality measurement by 2025.
This goal remains elusive for ACOs, who sometimes work with dozens of electronic health record (EHR) systems and must combine data from a myriad of medical practices, hospitals and other providers not using the same DSE. While CMS has delayed the transition to electronic clinical quality measures (eCQM) until 2025, ACOs will need this time to develop solutions to the barriers that currently exist to making the transition successful.
“Today, our EHR systems have yet to achieve the state of real-world interoperability needed to easily combine non-standardized patient data from diverse vendors, a future requirement of CMS Quality Reporting for Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs,” said Katherine Schneider, MD, chair of the NAACOS Digital Quality Measurement Task Force and former chair of the NAACOS Board of Directors.
In addition to cost savings, ACOs are incentivized to provide high quality care to the patients assigned to them. ACOs are evaluated on a number of quality measures, such as patient experience, flu shot delivery, cancer screenings and diabetes control. Participants in MSSP, CMS’s largest and most successful value-based care program, received an average quality score of 97.8% in 2020, a new best program.
The NAACOS Digital Quality Measurement Task Force will bring together ACO leaders and other experts to identify current capabilities and barriers, helping to generate potential solutions and recommendations to be published in a document. guidance later this year. It will then bring together stakeholders, including CMS, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Informatics (ONC), and health informatics vendors, to discuss and react to policy recommendations.
“ACOs have broader concerns about the eCQM program as it is currently constructed, in particular the many implications and unintended consequences of requiring data to be reported across entire patient populations instead of just the MSSP, as it has been done since the program’s inception ten years ago,” Schneider said. “Nevertheless, we know that digital quality reporting in general is the direction we need to go, but we need to get it right, ultimately for the benefit of the value-based care momentum and for the patients, including those supported by the provider safety net Digital quality reporting to date presents major financial and operational challenges, requiring significant investment from providers, practices and ACOs to be ready according to the current schedule.
According to a NAACOS survey last year, more than three-quarters of ACOs have six or more FSDs, and 37% have 15 or more FSDs. Many rely on third-party companies to help them aggregate data, which increases the cost of their work.
Members of the working group include:
- Maria Alexander, Mount Sinai
- Jim Barr, MD, Atlantic COA
- Lindsey Bryan, ACO of Ohio State Health
- Paula Burleson, Novant Health
- Aaron Clark, DO, Ohio State Health ACO
- Rob Fields, MD, Mount Sinai
- Chris Elfner, Bellin Health Partners ACO
- Josh Israel, MD, Aledade
- Jessica Landin, Evolutionary Health
- Stephen Nuckolls, Costal Carolina Quality Care
- Ashish Parikh, MD, Summit Health
- Megan Reyna, Aurora Health Attorney
- Anna Taylor, MultiCare Connected Care
- Jessica Walradt, Northwest Medicine
About NAACOS. The National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) represents more than 12 million beneficiary lives through hundreds of organizations participating in population health-focused payment and delivery models in Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance . Models include the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), Global and Occupational Direct Contracts, ACO REACH, and alternative payment models supported by a myriad of commercial health plans and Medicare Advantage. NAACOS is a member-directed and owned not-for-profit organization that strives to improve the quality of care, outcomes and cost-effectiveness of healthcare.