Quality Critical to Health Care Reform

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 General News
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National multistakeholder group calls for five actions to mobilize true change

WASHINGTON, May 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Expanding health insurance coverage is a critical step in health reform, but reforms will not be successful if they fail to also address the quality and cost of care.

That is the conclusion of The Quality Crossroads Group, a broad group of stakeholders drawn together to identify strategies to address the complex challenges confronting the U.S. health care system. The group lays out a five-point agenda in an article published today in Health Affairs that serves as a vision for quality in an election year when patient safety, the plight of the uninsured, and rising costs are making front-page news.

"Quality improvement is intricately connected with containing costs and expanding coverage. Yet too often, quality is left out of the equation," says co-author Margaret E. O'Kane, president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance. "Poor quality care is a major contributor to runaway health care costs. Improving quality is a key part of making coverage affordable."

"The future of health care reform rests on the ability for diverse groups, at national, state, and community levels, to work to achieve consensus. We cannot achieve the important policy goals outlined in this paper without collaboration," says co-author Janet Corrigan, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum. "The thinking in this paper, by leaders in the quality movement across the country, represents a successful effort to collaborate in moving beyond rhetoric and sparking real change," she added.

If taken up by the new President, Congress and others, the five-point reform plan put forward by the 13 authors of the paper would mobilize true change in the nation's vast, complicated, and expensive health care system. The reform plan calls for:

Read "Crossroads in Quality" in Health Affairs, Vol. 27., No 3.

About NQF. The mission of the National Quality Forum (www.qualityforum.org) is to improve the quality of American health care 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 (qualityforum.org) with diverse stakeholders across the public and private health sectors, was established in 1999 and is based in Washington, DC.

About NCQA. NCQA (www.ncqa.org) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and recognizes physicians in key clinical areas. NCQA's Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS(R)) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information through the Web, media and data licensing agreements in order to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices.

About The Quality Crossroads Group. Corrigan and O'Kane convened the Quality Crossroads Group in 2006 in a unique effort to build consensus for policy goals that are too often held hostage by partisan politics. In addition to Corrigan and O'Kane, Quality Crossroads Group members are: Sandra Foote, Senior Vice President and Principal, CapitolHealth; Sean Tunis, Director, Center for Medical Technology Policy; George Isham, Medical Director and Chief Health Officer, HealthPartners; Len Nichols, Director, Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation; Elliott Fisher, Professor, Dartmouth Medical School and Director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Reform, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice; Jack Ebeler, President, Eb

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