In June 1998 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) was charged with examining the current state of healthcare in the United States, and thus the Quality of Health Care in America project was initiated. The objective of the IOM’s quality initiative was to develop a strategy for improving healthcare over the next 10 years.  To accomplish the task, the IOM formed the Committee on the Quality of Health Care in America. The work of this committee resulted in the release of two reports. The first, To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System (1999), detailed serious concerns with the U.S. healthcare system, and the second, Crossing The Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century (2001), focused broadly on innovative ways to improve patient care. The Quality of Health Care in America Initiative is intended to (a) empower consumers with quality of care information to make more informed decisions about their healthcare, and (b) encourage providers and clinicians to improve the quality of healthcare. The road to quality is a complicated one; however, the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s Advocacy Committee has been following this initiative very closely.

The Advocacy Committee is charged with keeping SCCM Council and membership informed of policy issues that may influence critical care medicine providers and by educating policymakers, government agency leaders, healthcare providers, business groups, payors, the public, and other interested and concerned parties about the mission of SCCM and issues of importance to the care of critically ill patients. This blog is another tool to provide information on issues that affect the care of the critically ill and to provide education related to those issues.

In the ongoing effort to improve quality care for hospitalized patients and to align Medicare payments with quality outcomes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have released their latest proposed list of value-based purchasing (VBP) quality measures, to become effective in FY 2013. The proposed measures include 17 processes of care measures and eight Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems Survey (HCAHPS) measures. Additionally in FY 2014, CMS proposes to adopt three mortality measures, eight HAC measures, nine AHRQ measures and six HAI measures.  Find a complete description of the proposed list of VBP quality measures for FY 2013 and FY 2014.

CMS will accept public comments on the proposed rule through March 8, 2011, and expects to respond to them in a final VBP rule in 2011.  Additionally, The Joint Commission is seeking input on two newly proposed NPSGs for its Hospital Accreditation program addressing two HAIs: VAP and CAUTI. These standards for consideration are a result of The Joint Commission’s involvement with the HAI-Allied Task Force, which seeks strategies to prevent the six highest morbidity and mortality HAIs across the continuum of care. SCCM is reviewing the proposal. Public comment is due to The Joint Commission by January 27, 2011.