Quality measure guidelines need work, paper states

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From provider groups to the president, preventing unnecessary hospital readmissions among frail seniors has been under the microscope. But, as a new white paper points out, there are currently no established quality measures in place to prevent readmissions.

“Quality measures are not useful to people in the decision-making process that have to decide if this hospitalization is preventable or not,” Katie Maslow, co-author of the white paper “Measurement of Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations” said in a conference call discussing the release of the paper. “There is a huge need for providers to understand the measures and think about which hospitalizations are safe to prevent.”

The white paper identifies 250 quality measures that specify one or more medical conditions believed by the developers to be associated with potentially preventable hospitalizations. These conditions include chronic cardiac conditions such as angina, heart failure, diabetes, pneumonia and others.

However, long-term care settings vary in their acuity level, and advocates worry that facilities may face financial penalties due to unclear rehospitalization measurements. The paper recommends better definitions of both settings and the long-term care population, along with asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to do “rigorous monitoring of programs designed to reduce preventable hospitalizations.”

“Even among nursing homes there's a great difference in what a facility is able to provide,” Maslow pointed out.  

Click here to read the full white paper.