ACS: Value-Based Purchasing To Improve Patient Care

Mon, 01/17/2011 - 5:31am

The American College of Surgeons believes that given the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) focus on improving the value of health care, the proposed value-based purchasing rule it issued on January 7 is an important step toward improving the quality of care and patient outcomes while reducing complications and the cost of care.

The College calls “most encouraging” the fact that in the proposed rule CMS states it will quickly move to expand “the types of measures beyond process of care measures to include an increased number of outcome measures.” Studies show process measures do not necessarily correlate with improved patient outcomes, but by focusing on measuring and improving outcomes, hospitals can more demonstrably reduce complications, improve quality, and reduce costs.

In keeping with this effort, CMS has been working with the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) to develop new outcomes measures related to various aspects of surgical care.

“One of the best ways to measure quality is to collect robust clinical data on patients before, during, and after the hospital visit and evaluate what we call risk-adjusted patient outcomes.  This approach enables hospitals to benchmark their performance against national standards and implement fixes where necessary as part of a continuous loop of quality improvement,” said David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director of the American College of Surgeons.  “We support the effort to focus on preventing complications and improving quality to reduce health care costs.  We look forward to continuing to work on improving surgical quality through metrics aligned with the vision and focus of CMS.  The use of risk-adjusted, clinical outcomes in surgery has produced substantial improvements in surgery.”

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