This morning Health Affairs published a blog entitled, “COVID-19 Will Upend Hospital Reporting And Value-Based Programs For Years To Come.”
The piece, which was co-authored by FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn and Claudia A. Salzberg, Ph.D., examines the ways the pandemic will impact hospital quality data and the effects it could have on patient care.
“The current hospital quality programs and measures were not designed to contend with pandemics or public health emergencies of the magnitude we are experiencing. Nor are they equipped to manage the degree of aberration we are encountering in the underlying data,” Kahn and Salzberg write. “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the health care system in ways that have affected patient-, provider-, and hospital-level decisions, behavior, and performance. This presents a significant problem to patients, hospitals, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) alike—all of whom must rely on credible and consistent measures of quality.”
The blog credits CMS for already working to blunt the negative consequences, but the authors say more needs to be done and lawmakers may need to step in.
“CMS took an important step in meeting this challenge by proposing a number of welcome, mitigating measures in its rule for fiscal year 2022 inpatient hospital payment. While there may be legal limits on how far regulators can go, inaction is not an option. Transparency requires that, at a minimum, the data issues and the policy implications must be publicly disclosed so that potential congressional action can be appropriately guided with stakeholder input. If the underlying laws need to be updated to provide regulators with the administrative flexibility, they need to fully account for COVID-19 and future disruptions, congressional policy makers have a duty to work on those fixes.”