Report blasts QIOs' efforts, questions leniency

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A new report raises questions about whether contractors for quality improvement organizations are doing enough to detect and prevent quality of care problems in the Medicare program.

QIOs are going soft on some providers, the findings from a Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General review suggest. The OIG analysis found that QIOs recommended corrective action in more than 70% of cases with confirmed quality concerns, but they called for the least severe actions in about 70% of those cases.

Meanwhile, nursing homes receiving intensive QIO assistance achieved 16% relative improvement in pressure ulcer care and a 32% relative improvement in pain management, according to a report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The AHRQ's National Healthcare Quality Report details quality gains among the nation's long-term care facilities and shows how their collaboration with QIOs is improving the overall system, according to AHRQ.

The OIG report is available at http://www.oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-01-06-00170.pdf.