New AMA survey highlights need to improve Medicare's PQRI
Key elements of Medicare's Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) must
be improved so that physicians can successfully participate and use the information
to increase the quality of patient care. This is the main take-away from the
American Medical Association's (AMA) new survey of physicians who participated
in the PQRI during its first year of implementation.
More than six out of 10 physicians surveyed rated the program difficult, and
only 22% were able to download the PQRI feedback report for their practice.
To maximize physicians' experience with the program and to encourage more to
participate, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should place
a greater emphasis on early education and feedback. In addition, Congress should
allow CMS to develop a process that allows physicians to appeal CMS judgments
on inaccurate reporting.
"Physicians are committed to improving the quality of patient care,
and the AMA is committed to working with policymakers to make this
program a viable quality improvement tool for physicians," said
AMA Board Member Ardis Hoven, MD. "The AMA survey shows a clear need
for the program to be improved so that physicians can more easily participate
and so that they and Medicare get greater value from the program."
Of those who were able to access their feedback reports, less than half found
the information instructive. Of the physicians who asked for assistance from
CMS, 59 percent rated their satisfaction with CMS responsiveness as none to
low. Physicians who began reporting in July 2007 did not receive a feedback
report until 12 months later, halfway through the program's second year, making
it impossible to fix any reporting problems. This may have contributed to the
fact that nearly half of all PQRI participants did not receive any bonus payment.
If reforms are not made to the program, physicians who participate in 2008 will
not receive feedback reports until 18 months after initial reporting.
"It is our hope that CMS works with the AMA and uses this information
to improve the PQRI so that more physicians can successfully participate in
the program," said Dr. Hoven. "Physicians need to be confident
that the effort they put into participating in the PQRI is worthwhile for
both their patients and their practice."