Specialty-Specific Measures Needed
Another problem with making PQRI punitive is the lack of quality measures to report for some specialties. Physicians in specialties that don’t have many measures or have difficulty getting measures could get hit once the payment reduction kicks in, said Kristen Hedstrom, assistant director of legislative affairs for the American College of Surgeons.
Only a small percentage of otolaryngologists participate in PQRI because few measures apply to them, said Jean Brereton, senior director of research, quality improvement and health policy at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Creating measures and getting them endorsed is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process that is especially difficult for small specialties, she said, adding that it’s not likely that the government will produce and endorse enough measures for otolaryngologists by 2015. “We are supportive of moves to be able to report on quality,” Brereton said. “It’s just the aggressiveness of the time frame they’ve laid out that we’re concerned about.”