Plan: QIOs to impact nursing homes, other providers more

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contractors who work to improve care for Medicare beneficiaries would take a greater role under a newly announced proposal by the agency. Starting in August 2005, quality improvement organizations (QIOs) would have enhanced duties and goals over the ensuing three-year period.

During that time span, or "Scope of Work" (SOW), special emphasis would be placed on four settings: nursing homes, home health agencies, physician offices and hospitals.

"We know there are areas where there are substantial gaps between known good practices and actual practice, and we know dramatic improvement is possible," CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan said in a news release. "We now have more opportunities than ever to close those gaps, so that every Medicare beneficiary gets the right care every time he or she receives medical treatment."

Comments on the proposal will be accepted until Sept. 20, according to the agency. They may be sent to 8sowcom@cms.hhs.gov, according to the CMS Web site. The draft of the CMS proposal can be seen at www.cms.hhs.gov/qio/2s.pdf.