Friday, January 27, 2006

Is CMS administrator threatening doctors to report on quality measures?

American Medical News (subscription required) quotes Dr. Mark McCleland as saying " there is a strong congressional interest in not doing more than one year payments adjustment without seeing more visible progress in quality reporting and quality improvement programs". According to American Medical News, Dr. McCleland declined to say exactly which legislators were saying that.He might not just be threatening physicians as you could argue the real losers in further cuts in medicare payments are the elderly who are bumping up against more internists and FPs opting out of Medicare and by cutting fees, often practices respond by cutting time spent with patients.Some physicians and some Medicare recipients might wonder how CMS can talk about docs improving quality on the heels of a somewhat less than stellar kickoff of Medicare Part D following promotion of the program which including a major underestimate of the cost when the program was spun to Congress. This week in Houston hundreds of volunteers are gathering to try and help explain the program to those eligible.25 states are having to pay for meds for folks who otherwise might go without meds due to glitches in the program. Similar programs are sprouting up over the country as citizens voluntarily do what they can do to fix a typical government snafu.Physicians,whose practices are admonished to improve their quality, are taking time in their busy office practices to try and explain the program to their patients.

1 comment:

mchebert said...

The pressure keeps building on docs to put quality measures in place. Which might not be so bad except that docs are also pressured in just about every other conceivable area.

I think eventually we will have to accept some kind of quality monitoring, but we would do best if we bargained for a swap. For instance, docs could agree to quality measures in exchange for VERY GOOD tort reform.