WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 The National Quality Forum (NQF) has endorsed six measures to improve quality of eye and skin care in the ambulatory setting. The endorsed measures address melanoma and eye care, specifically glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts.
Melanoma. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 68,720 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the United States during 2009. Although melanoma accounts for less than five percent of skin cancer cases, it causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths. The first new NQF-endorsed(R) standard for melanoma focuses on coordination of care and is intended to measure the clinician managing the melanoma, regardless of specialty. This standard aligns with the National Priorities Partnership's priority of improving care coordination. The second new NQF-endorsed standard for melanoma aligns with the National Priority of reducing overuse, targeting appropriate use of diagnostic imaging studies. The measure developer noted that melanoma care costs $240 million year, and as much as 50 percent is related to routine imaging ordered by a host of providers, including dermatologist and primary care physicians.
Eye care. The new NQF-endorsed standards for cataracts focus on complications and visual acuity following cataract surgery. According to the National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America (2002), cataracts affect nearly 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. Other new NQF-endorsed standards for eye care address counseling for age-related macular degeneration, which is anticipated to affect almost 3 million people in the United States by 2020, and treatment and plan of care for glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans.
NQF's steering committee on eye care and melanoma measures in the ambulatory setting was co-chaired by Jeffery Kang, senior vice president, clinical programs and policy at CIGNA, and Alice Stollenwerk Petrulis, chief medical officer at KePRO.
NQF is a voluntary consensus standards-setting organization. Any party may request reconsideration of the recommendations, in whole or in part, by notifying NQF in writing via e-mail no later than December 4 (email@example.com). For an appeal to be considered, the notification e-mail must include information clearly demonstrating that the appellant has interests that are directly and materially affected by the NQF-endorsed recommendations and that the NQF decision has had (or will have) an adverse effect on those interests.
The mission of the National Quality Forum is to improve the quality of American healthcare by setting national priorities and goals for performance improvement, endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance, and promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs. NQF, a non-profit organization (www.qualityforum.org) with diverse stakeholders across the public and private health sectors, was established in 1999 and is based in Washington, DC.
SOURCE National Quality Forum