FAQ Directory: Physician and Hospital Quality Certification

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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 Patient experience measures Do the results of Patient Experience of Care surveys, using questions derived from CAHPS-CG, have a role in the evaluation of physician quality?

Yes. Patient experience measures are considered measures of quality. The organization may use items or composites from the CAHPS-CG survey. Measure specifications for the CAHPS-CG survey can be found on the AHRQ website (https://cahps.ahrq.gov/clinician_group/).

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Definition of a Program How does NCQA define a program?

The definition of a program is clearly defined in Section 1 of the Policies and Procedures. A physician measurement program includes: 1) A defined group of physicians– the definition must include both physician type (e.g. specialty) and geographic area covered; 2) A defined set of clinical quality, service or patient experience measures– the program may also include a defined set of cost, resource use or utilization measures; 3) A defined methodology for producing measure results; 4) A specific action taken at a specific point in time based on the measure results.

A hospital transparency program includes: 1) A defined group of hospitals– the definition must include both hospital type and location; 2) A defined set of all-payer quality or cost measures whose results are publicly reported at a specific point in time.

Distinct programs are reviewed separately and a certification decision is issued for each. Physician measurement programs and hospital transparency programs are always distinct programs, even when operated by the same legal entity. NCQA reserves the right to determine that programs that are managed in a decentralized manner constitute distinct programs for review.

To the extent that one program is a derivative of another and share common aspects (e.g., an organization uses the same measures and methodology for a single defined physician group but takes two actions [reporting and network tiering]) and the organization seeks verification for both at the same time, NCQA can review common aspects once to streamline the survey process, although these are distinct programs.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Collaborative data Must organizations include collaborative data for certification?

If the organization is seeking certification on a program that is part of a collaborative, those measures must be included.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Measure reliability If a plan demonstrates a different methodology for statistical validity, would the methodology be considered?

Element C, Define Methodology requires the organization to have a method for determining measurement error and measure reliability. Element D, Adhere to Key Principles sets requirements for minimum observations or levels of measure reliability or confidence intervalsas applicable for quality and cost, resource use or utilization measures. For calculating measure reliability for PHQ, the organization must use the method described in the Explanation in Element C under the subhead Measurement Error. Measure reliability is defined as the ratio of the variance between physicians to the variance within one physician, plus the variance between physicians. NCQA does not prescribe the method used to calculate confidence intervals because the appropriate method may vary based on the parameter (e.g., mean or proportion).

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Requests for corrections or changes For PQ2: Elements B and C, how can patient experience of care data corrected, when this information is not disclosed to physicians?

The plan is not required to disclose member-specific results, nor is it expected that a physician can correct member responses. At a minimum, the physician must be given the methodology (e.g., sampling, attribution) and survey questions and, upon request, be allowed to confirm that the patients in the universe from which the sample was drawn are his or her patients, given the methodology.

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 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 Board Certification Does Board Certification status count as a quality measure?

No, Board Certification status alone does not count as a quality measure.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Physician requests For PQ 2 Element C, could a collaborative manage the process?

Yes. PHQ requirements do not prohibit a collaborative from managing a request for corrections or changes made by physicians, but the organization remains accountable and responsible for responding to complaints from consumers and to requests for changes from physicians or hospitals based on actions taken by the organization.

PHQ 2013

11.15.2012 Use of patient experience data collected from external organizations Is the use of patient experience data considered part of the program in the following circumstances: 1. The organization incorporates third-party performance information data with its own and then takes action on it (i.e., integrates the third-party data with its own to develop a composite that it reports or uses as the basis of action, such as payment or network or benefit design) 2. The organization provides a link for members on a third-party site so the member can review that information?

For scenario 1, the data must be considered as part of the program being reviewed for PHQ because the organization has incorporated the data with its own or tailored the data and then used the data as a basis for its own action (e.g., reporting, payment or network or benefit design). For scenario 2, if _ as part of its program _ the organization simply provides a link to an external source of performance information on physicians without altering that data and represents it as such, and the organization does not take any action based on the data (e.g., pay any incentive or use data for network or benefit design) then it is not considered part of the program.

PHQ 2013