CMS appoints California as test state for quality of care measurement tools

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California is expected to be the government's so-called guinea pig in the setting up and testing of basic cost and quality of care measurement tools for providers of Medicare and other programs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said recently.

It is a logical place for a pilot study because it is "much further along than many other states to take advantage of the measurement of costs," said CMS Regional Director Jeff Flick.

But implementation only will take place if President Bush signs an executive order that is being drafted. The order would require that medical providers covered by Medicare and other federally financed healthcare programs be willing to use information technology that meets federally approved standards. U.S. government contracts with health plans would have to stipulate this requirement.