Health Information Management

News: GAO report says CMS needs to improve quality of physician feedback

CDI Strategies, September 2, 2011

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“CMS faces challenges incorporating resource use and quality measures for physician feedback reports that are meaningful, actionable, and reliable,” according to an August 12 report from the Government Accountability Office.

In response to requirements under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) CMS established its Physician Feedback Program to provide physicians with information regarding the resources they use and the quality of care they provide.
“CMS had difficulty measuring the resources used by physicians to treat specific episodes of an illness, such as a stroke or a hip fracture, and the quality measures it used in the program's most recent phase applied to a limited number of physicians,” according to the GAO report. 
The GAO says CMS needs to address several other challenges in developing the physician reports such as how to:
  • account for differences in beneficiary health status
  • attribute beneficiaries to physicians
  • determine the minimum number of beneficiaries a physician needs to treat to receive a report
  • select physicians' peer groups for comparison
Electronic distribution of the reports presented a number of challenges with a little more than 80% of physicians in CMS’ sample being unable to receive the reports. Additional difficulties included a lack of:
  • accurate contact information
  • a strong incentive for physicians to review their reports
  • adequate follow-up with physicians for whom feedback reports were produced

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