The AAMC March 16 joined the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, and the Federation of American Hospitals in a letter to the National Quality Forum (NQF) expressing concerns with the NQF’s sociodemographic status (SDS) trial period. Under the trial, which is expected to end in April 2017, certain measures can be adjusted to account for patient economic and demographic factors. The associations emphasized ongoing concerns that SDS factors impact a provider’s ability to influence patient outcomes, including readmissions and cost.
The four associations urge a minimum one-year extension of the trial period in order to address problems with the overall process, citing:
- The lack of clear oversight and consultation;
- The flawed rollout of the trial period; and
- Inaccurate and incomplete communications to members and stakeholders.
These concerns focus on the lack of direction for the multiple entities involved in the trial, inadequate time for measure developers to provide analyses and the insufficient data used to make these adjustments, and an overall lack of accurate and detailed information regarding the progress of the trial.
The hospital associations also include a series of recommendations to address these concerns and improve the overall SDS process. These recommendations include clearly defining the roles of each group participating in the trial, modifying the evaluation criteria to account for the findings in the recently released Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and the National Academy of Medicine’s reports, and improving communications to the public. Over the course of the two year trial, fewer than 10 measures have been adjusted for SDS.