Last week I received an e-mail from The Leapfrog Group alerting me that buried in 500 pages of Medicare payment policies sat a proposal to eliminate certain measures from the Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) program related to hospital-acquired infections, and patient accidents and injuries. The rule could put an end to easily accessible data on rates of infections, sepsis and a number of other hospital injuries via the IQR.
At a time when the healthcare system is transitioning to value-based purchasing and consumerism is on the rise, we’re in critical need of more transparency, not less. In my conversation with Leah Binder, CEO of The Leapfrog Group, she pointed out that safety can nullify the value equation – the financial and human costs of errors and accidents are enormous and can far outweigh the absolute cost of the procedure. Americans rely on the CMS data to evaluate quality so they can select providers and facilities that have lower rates of errors and accidents and provide high-quality, valuable care.
Public reporting of this data is intended to ensure that hospitals are held accountable for their outcomes around healthcare safety and quality – but without transparency, there is no accountability. Transparency prompts hospitals to adopt safety measures to keep life-threatening infections at bay and prevent accidents. When you remove transparency and accountability, you run the risk of hospitals shifting their focus away from these safety measures to other areas.
The IQR is a report card that tells us which hospitals pass the safety test. Let’s not drop questions from the test. The difference between an A and a D might be a patient’s life.
Mercer has significant concerns about the removal of these metrics from the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program. A copy of the comment letter we submitted to CMS is posted on Mercer Select Intelligence. Not a member? Learn more