HHS Performance Measurement 

Consensus-based Entities Regarding Healthcare Performance Measurement

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Contract #: HHSM-500-209-00010C

In January 2009, NQF entered into a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help establish a portfolio of quality and efficiency measures for use in reporting on and improving healthcare quality. These measures will allow the federal government to more clearly see how and whether healthcare spending is achieving the best results for patients and taxpayers. The contract is part of a provision in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.   

Contract Tasks

Formulation of a National Strategy and Priorities for Healthcare Performance Measurement

NQF will supervise a systematic review and synthesis of evidence relating to 20 high-priority conditions identified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that account for over 95 percent of Medicare’s costs. NQF will also establish a multi-stakeholder steering committee to guide the measurement prioritization process.

  • Prioritization of High-Impact Conditions—There are 20 medical conditions that account for more than 95% of Medicare's costs. NQF will synthesize evidence related to these 20 high-impact conditions and prioritize them along multiple dimensions to guide future development of performance measures.

Implementation of a Consensus Process for Endorsement of Healthcare Quality Measures

NQF will endorse standardized healthcare performance measures through its consensus development process (CDP). The CDP is an open, transparent process with continuing opportunity for public comment; it ensures that endorsed standards satisfy strict evaluation criteria and are products of consensus across all stakeholder groups.

Maintenance of Consensus Endorsed Measures

NQF will ensure that endorsed consensus standard measures are regularly and appropriately updated and remain relevant for public reporting and quality improvement. This process will include ongoing research and iterative improvement of both measures and the maintenance process.

Promotion of Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

NQF will promote the use of EHRs for performance measurement, reporting, and improvement. The objectives of this task are two-fold: first, for performance measures to have specifications that can be readily incorporated into EHRs; and second, for EHRs to capture the data necessary to report on performance and to provide the clinical decision support that practitioners need to improve performance.

Annual Report to Congress and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

NQF will submit an annual report that describes the implementation of quality measurement initiatives, a summary of activities and recommendations on national strategy and priorities, and performance by NQF on the contract. NQF has delivered two annual reports, the most recent was delivered in March 2010. This report summarizes the work performed under the contract during the first full year it was in place, and discusses recent accomplishments, strategic direction, and key challenges ahead.

Focused Measurement Development, Harmonization, and Endorsement Efforts to Fill Critical Gaps in Performance Measurements

NQF will work to fill critical gaps in performance measurements through the promotion of focused measure development, harmonization of similar measures, refinement of existing measures, retirement of measures that are no longer useful, and endorsement of a core set of measures for public reporting and quality improvement.

  • Coding Maintenance—NQF seeks to ensure that measurement standards and their specifications are updated to reflect the conversion of the national medical coding system from ICD-9 to ICD-10 and the use of clinical code sets for the electronic collection and exchange of quality and performance measurement data.

Subcontracting Opportunities

NQF will have a number of opportunities to work with other parties to accomplish the goals of this contract. We encourage interested individuals to check NQF’s contracting opportunities webpage for open requests for proposal.

Additional Information

Inquiries about this contract or any of the work being conducted under it can be sent to info@qualityforum.org.