Skilled Nursing Facility

CMS unveils new quality measures under consideration

CMS unveiled new quality measures under consideration for nursing homes shortly before Christmas. While some previously implemented measures have been updated, there are several new measures focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, and vaccinations in healthcare settings.

The new measures under consideration, as outlined by CMS, include:

  • Five outcome measures (measures that focus on the results of health care provided through Medicare), such as the rate of health care-associated infections requiring hospitalization for residents of skilled nursing facilities;
  • Five process measures (measures that emphasize efforts to promote standardized best practices), such as conducting kidney health evaluations or implementing interventions for patients with pre-diabetes (the medical term for blood glucose levels that are high but not yet high enough for a type-2 diabetes diagnosis). Importantly, the 2020 list includes three process measures for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine. The measures under consideration list proposes looking at:
    • Vaccination coverage among health care personnel,
    • Vaccination by clinicians, and
    • Vaccination coverage for patients in End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facilities;
  • Five cost/resource use measures (measures that evaluate how frequently health care items or services may be used, as well as how much they might cost) – including, for example, episode-based costs associated with addressing diabetes or asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • Three composite measures (which summarize overall quality of care across multiple measures through the use of one value or piece of information); and
  • Two patient reported outcomes measures (measures where the information comes directly from the patient).

All but three of the new measures depend on electronic data collection. The non-digital measures focus on assessing COVID-19 vaccinations in healthcare workers, and resident-reported health outcomes that gives residents a voice in their own care. CMS expects feedback from the Measure Applications Partnership by February 1, 2021.