According to the Center for Medicare &Medicaid Services (CMS), consumers will now be able to make informed choices regarding their health care by means of a new tool aimed at patients and caregivers, and other additional measures. CMS adds that it should help improve care quality in US doctors’ offices, nursing homes and hospitals.
CMS Administrator Dr. Don Berwick, said: “These tools are new ways CMS is making sure consumers have information about health care quality and important information they need to make the best decisions about where to receive high-quality care. These efforts are designed to also encourage providers to deliver safe, patient-centered care that consumers can rely on and will motivate improvement across our health care system.”
The steps are as follows:
A Quality Care Finder – Medicare’s Compare tools can be accessed by Medicare beneficiaries by going online and obtaining information on nursing homes, hospitals, and plans.
Hospital Compare Website – This website has now been updated to include information on how hospitals are rated for outpatient care, surgical infections, and further provides information on how each outpatient is treated for suspected heart attack, and whether or not established therapies to reduce mortality are used. It also comprises 30-day mortality as well as readmission rates for inpatients with heart attack, pneumonia, and heart failure. Claims data from 3 whole years are compared. 10 measures associated with patient experience with hospital care are also included in it.
Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program – Nationwide health care professionals are provided with resources and technical assistance with the new and improved QIQ program to help them get acclimatized to ever evolving healthcare requirements in nursing homes, doctors’ offices, and hospitals.
30-day mortality rates for heart attack were was 16.2% from 2006 to 2009, 15.9% from 2007 to 2010, and it decreased further in 2011.
During the same periods, heart failure mortality rates increased from 11.2% to 11.3%.
Pneumonia mortality rates also jumped from 11.6 to 11.9.
30-day readmission rates for heart attack were 19.8% between 2007 and 2010, and 19.9% between 2006 and 2009
30-day readmission rates for pneumonia were 18.4% between 2007 and 2010, and 18.2% between 2006 and 2009
30-day readmission rates for heart failure were 24.8% between 2007 and 2010, and 24.5% between 2006 and 2009
Dr. Berwick said: “Both sets of inpatient measures are risk-adjusted, taking health conditions into account to ‘level the playing field’ among hospitals and to help ensure accuracy in performance reporting.”
CMS chief medical officer and director of the agency’s Office of Clinical Standards and Quality, Patrick Conway, M.D., M.Sc., said: “Patient-centeredness means that every decision that’s made and every program that’s established is focused on patients and their families. QIOs will promote this concept by including beneficiaries and front line clinicians in quality improvement initiatives, learning and action networks and communications. Listening to the voices of patients and staying focused on their outcomes and experiences are essential to achieve care centered on the patient.”