Quality of care developments. 1993 update.Qual Lett Healthc Lead. 1993 Jun; 5(5 Suppl):Si-iii, S1-13.QL
This monograph offers an overview of quality of care developments at the federal and state government levels, as well as in the private sector. Although health care reform legislation focuses on access, costs, and delivery systems, initiatives involving the quality of care not only will continue but are included in most of the reform efforts being proposed and those already under way. At the federal level... At the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), publication of Medicare mortality data is delayed and the Peer Review Organization (PRO) program is undergoing a major change of emphasis under a "quality improvement initiative." The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) has taken effect amidst controversy and further rulemaking is expected to correct flaws. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) is forging ahead with new practice guidelines while it starts to evaluate their effectiveness. Data on the patient outcomes in organ transplant centers, first published last year, now will be published on a regular basis. The National Practitioner Data Bank continues functioning amidst criticism and varying recommendations for change, from excluding information on small malpractice claims (e.g., less than $30,000) to opening up the data bank to the public (as proposed by Rep. Ron Wyden). Other federal developments include various quality-related reports from the Inspector General of HHS, the General Accounting Office, the Prospective Payment Assessment Commission, and the Physician Payment Review Commission, plus QI initiatives in Veterans Administration hospitals and the CHAMPUS programs. Among the states... Florida has included outcome data reporting and dissemination in its health care reform plan while Illinois struggles with whether physician-specific data will be made public. An innovative effort to test whether practice guidelines can reduce malpractice costs is underway in Maine, while Indiana began an outcome data project. Among accreditation agencies and associations... The Joint Commission is moving ahead with its Agenda for Change, including nationwide reporting of quality indicators and an expansion of accreditation to health care delivery systems and hospice programs. The American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association continue to support practice guideline development with education and research, while a number of hospitals and health systems are using comparative outcome data and clinical benchmarking to study and improve care. Conclusion... There is certainly some duplication of effort and the question of value (return on investment) must be raised given the cost of all these efforts. Without question, however, quality of care initiatives are omnipresent and challenging.