A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

State Panel Works on Standard Quality Standards

State Panel Works on Standard Quality Standards

March 1, 2013

State Quality Strategy graphic

The Statewide Quality Advisory Committee (SQAC) kicked off its second year with a meeting on Monday afternoon at the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) (meeting materials are here).

Under Chapter 224, the chair of the SQAC is the Executive Director of CHIA, Áron Boros.  The law also added a second health plan representative,  Dr. Michael Sherman, Chief Medical Officer of Harvard Pilgrim. Although the law did not include the Department of Public Health on the SQAC, Boros pointed out they hope to change this through a technical amendment. In the meantime, Boros proposed that the SQAC allow for non-voting committee members, and the SQAC approved both Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo from DPH and Kimberly Haddad from Administration and Finance to serve in those roles.

The SQAC discussed a draft mission statement (see link to materials above) and will plan to approve a refined version at the next meeting. HCFA was pleased to see a focus on improving health status of residents of the Commonwealth.

Iyah Romm from DPH and Miriam Drapkin from CHIA gave a presentation on quality measures. They looked at measures used in Massachusetts-those used for federal quality programs (eg. CMS), those used for state quality programs, and those used by commercial insurers. Of the total of 463 measures being used in MA they found only 63 that were common across all three of these levels of reporting.  They presented this information to show the breadth of measures being used and the need for more alignment of the measures - so as to balance the need to inform consumers with the need to not overwhelm consumers with information (or different ways of measuring the same thing) as well as the need to inform providers as to where they need to improve while not burdening them with the amount of required reporting.

CHIA will be releasing two products in the near future, both of which were discussed at the meeting: a Quality Measure Catalog listing all measures currently being used in public and private settings in MA, and a State Health Data Inventory.  CHIA will also very soon be filing proposed regulations that will define the process by which providers will be required to submit data needed to look at provider performance on the measures included in the Statewide Quality Measure Set (SQMS). As Boros pointed out, the plan is to use currently reported data as much a possible so as not to add too much to what is already required for reporting.

Finally, the SQAC discussed developing a statewide quality strategy to coordinate all of the quality improvement work and measurement activities taking place across the state (see  slide above, click to go to full powerpoint). This will be discussed further at the next meeting, April 22.
-Deborah Wachenheim