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Federal watchdog finds that CMS quality measures need improvement

A new federal study has found quality measures adopted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may not be accurate indicators of actual care that patients receive (Source: “Medicare quality measures need improvement, says government watchdog,” Modern Healthcare, Sept. 20, 2019).

According to a new Government Accountability Office report, the CMS doesn't have processes to make sure that the indicators actually measure what the agency says it cares about in its strategic objectives. The GAO found that the CMS carries over large sums of unused funds each year for activities related to quality measurement. And that the CMS fails to keep track of all its quality-measurement funding.

The CMS should create standard practices to assess the measures that it's considering to ensure they line up with strategic quality objectives, the GAO said. It also recommended that the CMS monitor its progress in achieving its goals by developing and using performance metrics. The GAO also said that the CMS should keep more comprehensive and thorough information on its quality funding.

HHS agreed with the GAO's recommendations.