More than 59 million Americans—approximately 19 percent of the U.S. population— live in rural areas. Statistics indicate that individuals who live in rural parts of the country may be more disadvantaged overall than those in urban or suburban areas, particularly with respect to sociodemographic factors, health status and behaviors, and access to the healthcare delivery system.
Healthcare providers serving in rural areas face many challenges in reporting quality measurement data and implementing care improvement efforts to address the needs of their populations. Some rural providers may have relatively low case volume, which affects the reliability, validity, and utility of performance metrics that might otherwise be available for measuring care quality. Due to factors such as geographic isolation or small practice size, rural providers may have limited time, staff, and infrastructure for internal quality improvement efforts and effective participation in quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs.
A key recommendation from NQF’s previous HHS-funded Rural Health project was the creation of a Rural Health workgroup under the Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) to advise CMS on the selection of rural-relevant measures. This Workgroup will ensure the perspectives of rural residents and providers—those who are most affected and most knowledgeable about rural measurement challenges and solutions—have adequate representation on MAP.
About the Project
The MAP Rural Health Workgroup, with oversight from the MAP Coordinating Committee, will provide recommendations on issues related to measurement challenges in the rural population. Additionally, the Workgroup will identify a core set of the best available (i.e., “rural relevant”) measures and identify rural-relevant gaps in measurement.
NQF will convene a multi-stakeholder group to identify appropriate quality measures and measurement gaps; address a measurement topic relevant to vulnerable individuals in rural areas; and provide recommendations regarding the alignment and coordination efforts of measurement in the rural population.
This project is funded under NQF’s contract with the Department of Health and Human Services.
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