Hospitalists' Role in PQRS, Pay for Performance Gets Boost


With the voluntary and incentive period for participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) quickly coming to a close, hospitalists are finding a limited number of PQRS measures broadly applicable to their practice. SHM, through its Performance Measurement and Reporting Committee (PMRC), is actively working on behalf of hospitalists to change that. At the same time, it is critical that hospitalists be proactive and participate in PQRS, not just to avoid the 2015 penalty, but to position themselves for success as the Value-Based Payment Modifier (VBPM) expands to all physicians by 2017.

In the current PQRS, the PMRC has identified the following measures that have appropriate inpatient codes for reporting and have potential relevance to hospitalists:

  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF): #5, ACE/ARB for LV systolic dysfunction; #8, beta-blocker prescribed for LV systolic dysfunction; #228, assessment of LV function.
  • Stroke: #31, DVT prophylaxis; #32, discharge on antiplatelet therapy; #33, anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation; #35, dysphagia screening; #36, consideration of rehab; #187, thrombolytic therapy.
  • Others: #47, advance care plan documented; #76, use of a central venous catheter insertion protocol.

Some of these measures are only reportable by registry. For groups who do not take care of stroke patients, the field is clearly limited. More detail on PQRS reporting and available codes can be found at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website (www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/PQRS/MeasuresCodes.html).

The committee is deeply concerned about the limited number of PQRS measures broadly applicable to hospitalists, and we are working to change this disparity. Over the past several months, the PMRC has successfully advocated to add inpatient codes to existing measures that will expand the field for hospitalists. So far, we have achieved the following changes for future PQRS reporting years:

  • Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP): Measures #56 (vital signs) and #59 (empiric antibiotics) will have admission codes 99221, 99222, and 99223 added to the denominator.
  • Osteoporosis/fractures: Measure #24 (communication with the outpatient provider) and #40 (DXA scan ordered or therapy initiated) will have discharge codes 99238 and 99239 added to their denominator, in recognition of the fact that many hospitalists partner with their orthopedic colleagues in the care of patients post-hip fracture.
  • Medication reconciliation: Measure #130 (documentation of current medication list) will have admission codes 99221, 99222, and 99223 added to the denominator.
  • Anticoagulation for acute pulmonary embolism: Measure #252, intended for use by ED physicians, is being retired by CMS due to a loss of National Quality Forum endorsement. SHM is working with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) to appeal the decision, possibly maintain the measure, and add inpatient admission codes to the denominator. This remains a work in progress.

Finally, in response to SHM advocacy efforts, the recent FY2014 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule sought comments from stakeholders about retooling certain hospital-based measures to allow for physician-level reporting. SHM supports the concept of allowing physician-level performance reporting on hospital metrics and recommended the inclusion of multiple measures from the Inpatient Quality Reporting Program.

The PMRC is charged with monitoring the rapidly evolving provider performance and measurement landscape to ensure that hospitalists are adequately represented. We will continue to work diligently with key stakeholders on behalf of our field.

Dr. Seymann is chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of California San Diego and chair of SHM’s Performance Measurement and Reporting Committee. Josh Boswell is SHM’s senior manager of government relations.

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