The Obama administration, acting in concert with the health insurance trade group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), announced today an agreement to develop a standardized set of healthcare quality measures for physicians. In particular, the new quality measurement system will track care given by accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes, primary care physicians, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, HIV and hepatitis C care providers, medical oncologists, orthopedists, obstetricians and gynecologists.
As physician's pay from insurance plans is more and more tied to quality outcomes - did the patient get well, or will there be additional claims down the road? - a system for measuring outcomes has become necessary. In recent years, government and private health plans have been working separately, and a confusing array of different measures for different companies has been growing. The CMS/AHIP agreement will seek to create a single standard system of measurement, relieving much of the burden caused by separate systems. In their news release, acting CMS administrator Andy Slavitt stated that "this agreement today will reduce unnecessary burdens for physicians and accelerate the country's movement to better quality." Representatives of the American Medical Association and the Americal Academy of Family Physicians praised the effort.