FAQ Directory: Physician and Hospital Quality Certification

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11.15.2012 Differentiating Between Programs If an organization measures and takes action on both primary care and for specialty care practitioners where the methodology and actions are the same but the measures vary by specialty, is this one or more program?

In general, if an organization has a measure set in which a subset of the measures apply only to some specialties (broadly including primary care as a specialty), where the methodology and actions are the same (e.g. public reporting in the same manner regardless of specialty), NCQA treats that as one program. However, if there is more than one action (e.g. public reporting, P4P), we may count them as two programs (a public reporting program and P4P program).

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Survey Tool With PQ 2013 evaluating at the program level, are we required to purchase a tool for every certifiable entity, as in PHQ 2008?

No. An organization is required to purchase a separate survey tool for every program it brings forward. One program operated by an organization such as a corporate parent without variation from region to region may be surveyed using a single tool. An organization that brings forward more than one program must purchase and submit a separate tool for each discrete program it brings forward.

There is a pricing option for derivative programs a derivative program is defined as a program that shares common aspects (e.g. an organization uses the same measures and methodology for a single defined group of physicians but takes a different action (reporting vs. network tiering) as another program its organization brings forward for certification. NCQA can review common aspects once to streamline the survey process (thus the discounted price), although these are distinct programs. To receive a discount, the programs must be brought forward at the same time. Please see the pricing exhibit in the survey agreement. If you need additional information, please contact NCQA Customer Support at (888) 275-7585.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 HEDIS measures If we use HEDIS measures, will NCQA still look at code?

No. NCQA does not evaluate an organizations code; it reviews the organizations measure specifications and compares them to the original source specification (if applicable). Note that to be considered from a standardized source, the measure must be the version specified for the level measured; e.g. HEDIS physician level measures, not plan level measures.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Changing measure specifications With regard to patient experience measures, may we use items from CAHPS-CG but change the referent time period? For example, not rating the last 12 months, but rating the last visit and changing the response categories accordingly?

No. Changing the referent time period materially alters the measure and would therefore not qualify as a standardized measure for Element A. Patient experience measures endorsed, developed or accepted by the NQF, AMA PCPI, national accreditors or government agencies may be used, but the organization must follow the measure or instrument specifications as written.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Attribution Do the NQF or HEDIS provider-level measurement specifications define attribution? For example, to whom to attribute performance: the diagnosing MD, prescribing MD, provider with most encounters and so on? If not, does this not result in variation?

Neither NQF nor HEDIS provider-level measures specifications require a specific attribution method, although HEDIS measures provide options for an organization to consider. While this might result in variation from one organization to another, there is currently no single industry standard method for attribution.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Taking action on cost measures Is an organization prohibited from using cost efficiency if quality results are not available?

No. The organizations program must consider quality in conjunction with cost, resource use or utilization when taking action. However, if the organization is unable to identify standardized measures of quality for a particular specialty or if there is insufficient data on an individual physician, practice or group the organization can act on cost performance when quality performance is not known. This is allowed in order to maximize the availability of performance information but must be handled in a fully transparent manner so that it is very clear when a physician is designated as high value and when they are purely designated as low cost. Refer to the standards _ specifically the explanation in PQ1 D (on page 51) _ for further explanation.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Organizational accountability Are organizations responsible for confirming the factors in Element F, or is this the responsibility of an external vendor?

For Element F, the organization must demonstrate that it has a process to verify that it has followed the specifications outlined in Element C (e.g., sample sizes, attribution,statistical validity). If the organization uses a vendor to administer the survey, this process may be performed by the vendor, but documentation demonstrating how the element is met must be included for the PHQ Survey.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Reapplying for certification When may an organization that fails to be certified reapply?

NCQA does not specify a minimum period after a denial during which an organization may undergo a new review, but the organization must have completed a new cycle of measurement and action in order for NCQA to review it against the standards.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Publically Reporting Performance-Based Payments Element A. requires that the organization must publicly report information on the percentage of total payments based on performance. Does this require that the information be published or is it acceptable to make it available and notify customers that it is available?

For Element F, the organization must demonstrate that it has a process to verify that it has followed the specifications outlined in Element C (e.g., sample sizes, attribution, statistical validity). If the organization uses a vendor to administer the survey, this process may be performed by the vendor, but documentation demonstrating how the element is met must be included for the PHQ Survey.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Applications for PHQ surveys How long after NCQA receives an application for survey does the survey begin?

NCQA suggests that organizations submit an application for survey at least 180 calendar days in advance of the date requested for their Initial Survey, but preferably applications will be submitted further in advance. Organizations should indicate their preferred survey date and NCQA will accommodate them if possible.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Tools for readiness evaluations Is there a non-Web based tool available for our organization to use for self-assessment?

An organization can use the PDF version of the standards to assess readiness to undergo a survey, but in order to undergo a survey it must purchase and use the Web-based Interactive Survey System (ISS) Tool. To purchase the PDF version of the standards or the Survey Tool, visit the NCQA Web site (www.ncqa.org) or contact Customer Service at 888-275-7585.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Frequency of re-measurement For plans using patient experience measures, must re-measurement occur every two years to meet Element E?

Yes. Plans that use patient experience measures must measure at least every two years to receive credit for this element.

PHQ 2013