June 22, 2009 15:47 ET

National Committee for Quality Assurance Announces Measures of Resource Use to Be Publicly Reported in 2010

Purchasers, Consumers Will Be Able to Compare Health Plans' Resource Use for Patients With Diabetes and Asthma

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - June 22, 2009) - Beginning in 2010, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) will publicly report on health plans' resource use for patients with diabetes and asthma. The reporting of these two Relative Resource Use (RRU) measures will allow purchasers and consumers to compare plans' relative efficiency in caring for such patients using standardized, risk-adjusted data.

"Purchasers have long been calling for ways to make apples-to-apples comparisons among health plans on the basis of not just quality, but also efficiency," said NCQA President Margaret E. O'Kane. "Given the rising costs of care, smart health-care shoppers are looking to be able to choose plans that deliver the right mix of quality and value. Publicly reporting RRU measures will allow them to and compare plans against national benchmarks, and one another."

The proposal to move the RRU measures to public reporting was approved by NCQA's Committee on Performance Measurement, a group which comprises a wide range of health care thought leaders, including physicians, purchasers, consumers, labor and plan representatives.

Major employers lauded the move. "Comparing health plans on resource use will be invaluable in our efforts to make contracting decisions that help keep our colleagues and their families healthy while maintaining affordability," said Dennis White, Senior Vice President of Value Based Purchasing, National Business Coalition on Health. "If we're going to buy health care on the basis of value, we're going to need to know what's really driving costs. That's the role these RRU measures will play in our purchasing process."

NCQA introduced RRU measures as part of its HEDIS 2007 data set. In total, RRU measures address six key areas of care: diabetes, asthma, low back pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), cardiovascular disease, and uncomplicated hypertension. Taken together, these six conditions account for up to 60 percent of all direct medical expenses. While health plans have reported on all six conditions for the past two years, only regional benchmarks have been publicly reported to date as NCQA has refined the data collection and analysis process.

The Committee on Performance Measurement will consider moving the remaining four RRU measures to public-reporting status at its next meeting in September.

NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA's Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and recognizes physicians in key clinical areas. 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.

Contact Information

    Lauren Funk
    (202) 955-1705