Fired Up for The Universal Foundation

February 9, 2023 · Andy Reynolds

All of us at NCQA are energized by the recent New England Journal of Medicine Perspective authored by six CMS leaders, “Aligning Quality Measures across CMS — The Universal Foundation.”

We applaud and fully support this ambitious and much needed initiative.

We look forward to our continuing collaboration with CMS to reach our shared goals of:

  • Reducing measurement burden.
  • Enhancing health equity.
  • Transitioning to digital quality reporting.

HEDIS: The Foundation of the Foundation

We are honored that 17 of the 24 measures our CMS colleagues proposed as the Universal Foundation are HEDIS measures that NCQA has developed and stewarded for the past 30 years.

You might say HEDIS is the foundation of The Universal Foundation.

We’re also proud that 5 measures will also be part of our Digital Content Services Early Adopter program. That overlap confirms we’re in sync with CMS on our most ambitious and futuristic projects.

Universal Foundation MeasuresHEDIS MeasureDigital Content Solutions Early Adopter Program 
Colorectal cancer screeningXX
Breast cancer screeningXX
Adult ImmunizationXX
Controlling high blood pressureX
Hemoglobin A1c poor control (>9%)X
Screening for depression and follow-up plan
Initiation and engagement of substance use disorder treatmentX
Plan All-Cause readmissionsX
All-Cause Hospital Readmissions
Screening for social drivers of health (CMS)
Well-child visits – First 30 months of lifeX
Well-child visits – Child and AdolescentX
Immunization – ChildrenXX
Immunization – AdolescentsXX
Weight assessment and counseling for nutrition and physical activity for children and adolescentsX
Oral evaluation, dental services
Asthma medication ratioX
Screening for depression and follow-up plan
Follow-up after hospitalization for mental illnessX
Follow-up after emergency department visit for substance useX
Use of first-line psychosocial care for children and adolescents on antipsychoticsX
Follow-up care for children prescribed attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder medicationX
CAHPS for MIPs Clinician/Group Survey

As NCQA President Peggy O’Kane said at a Health Affairs event two days after the NEJM Perspective came out, “We feel like this is a validation of our last four years of work, having understood where we need to go in mapping the path forward.”

We’re eager to continue to work with the Perspective coauthors (Douglas B. Jacobs, Michelle Schreiber, Meena Seshamani, Daniel Tsai, Elizabeth FowlerLee A. Fleisher) and other CMS leaders to reach these important goals.

We’re fired up–make that FHIR‘d up–about what’s ahead.

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