• Leading national healthcare and business leaders are rallying in support of quality measurement and are urging Congress to reauthorize the annual $30 million needed to support NQF’s critical work to improve patient care.

    A non-profit membership organization, NQF was founded in 1999 on the recommendation of the presidential commission to protect consumers in the healthcare industry through measurement and public reporting. Today, NQF is the only organization that reviews and endorses quality measures for use in the public and private sectors. Funded primarily through public dollars, and with bipartisan support, NQF is renowned for its ability to convene stakeholders from across the healthcare spectrum to endorse objective, rigorous, and scientific standards of care. NQF’s most recent congressionally authorized funding expired in September 2017.

    “The current timeline for Congressional action on NQF’s reauthorization is expected in December,” said Shantanu Agrawal, MD, MPhil, president and CEO of NQF. “The quality community has rallied for NQF in a phenomenal way, and we will continue to press hard to ensure NQF’s future.”

    Writing in an August 2017 NEJM Catalyst blog, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health physician and health policy researcher, Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, explains:

    “While reasonable people can disagree on which quality measures are most important—for example, is readmissions as important as mortality?—we need an approach that ensures everyone is at least measuring readmissions and mortality in the same way. Not only does NQF have the capability and the reputation to do this well, but the organization has received substantial investment over the past two decades to build this expertise.

    If NQF were to disappear tomorrow, we would simply need to re-create it. There is no other entity currently capable of taking on this role. This is why Congress needs to reauthorize the $30 million needed annually to support NQF’s mission to ensure that scientific principles drive approval of quality measures.”

    In a September 2017 Health Affairs Blog, executives from the nation’s five largest physician organizations—representing approximately 500,000 of the nation’s 800,000 physicians— note NQF’s unique ability to prioritize measures that can help the healthcare community measure what really matters to improve patient outcomes. The authors, who represent the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association, and the American Psychiatric Association, write:

    “Now is not the time to back away from our commitment to quality. Now is the time, when so much of health care is uncertain, for us to stand firm in our commitment to patients and improving the care they receive.”

    Meanwhile, in an op-ed published in Forbes in September, Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, which represents employers and other healthcare purchasers, calls NQF a “mighty little nonprofit long prized by purchasers” for its ability to bring together stakeholders “who may agree on little else” to reach “consensus [that] is the critical building block for creating an accountable healthcare market. “NQF succeeds in bipartisanship and public-private partnership and endorses measures for everything we care about in healthcare.”

    Organizations representing consumers are also voicing their support of NQF to help consumers and purchasers make “meaningful comparison and choices.” Co-authors Bill Kramer, executive director for national health policy at the Pacific Business Group on Health and Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, in an October 2017 HuffPost blog noted that not funding NQF’s federally supported work “would be devastating for patients receiving care, for doctors and hospitals who want to improve care, and for the tens of millions of consumers who will benefit when the Medicare and Medicaid programs find innovative ways to improve quality and cost effectiveness.”

    More than 130 NQF member organizations have joined the coalition, “Friends of NQF,” to support NQF’s reauthorization. To get involved with Friends of NQF, please contact info@friendsofnqf.org or Tweet your support for NQF at #supportNQF.

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