On March 18, NQF released for public comment a set of draft recommendations that have generated broad, vigorous discussion among quality and policy leaders. The recommendations -- from a diverse panel of 26 national experts convened by NQF at the request of the federal government -- tackle a critical question: Should measures used to assess provider performance be risk-adjusted to account for patients who are poor, homeless, illiterate, uneducated, or have other indicators of lower socioeconomic status?
“This high profile, complex issue has far reaching implications
for many —from patients and providers to state and federal health policymakers,”
said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women &
Families. “The report has catalyzed a much needed, thoughtful national
conversation about the intersection between health care performance and
socioeconomics, and about disadvantaged patients and the providers who treat
The draft report, Risk
Adjustment for Sociodemographic Status or Other Sociodemographic Factors,
recommends that risk adjustment may be appropriate for some performance
measures under some conditions, a change to current NQF policy. More than 650 comments on the report have been submitted to NQF from 160 organizations and each will be considered by the Expert Panel. A final report is expected in July 2014.
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