MGMA study finds QI not good for practice efficiency, morale

Most physician group practices are actively engaged in internal processes to improve clinical quality but they are highly critical of Medicare's physician quality reporting programs and their impact on patients and practices.

Eighty-two percent of physician group practices responding to the MGMA Physician Practice Assessment: Medicare Quality Reporting Programs research study reported they actively engage in quality improvement but 83 percent said they did not believe current Medicare physician quality reporting programs enhanced their physicians’ ability to provide high-quality patient care. 

In addition to the lack of effectiveness, physician practices reported significant challenges in complying with Medicare quality reporting requirements with more than 70 percent rating Medicare’s quality reporting requirements as “very” or “extremely” complex. Participating practices also said the programs negatively affected practice efficiency, support staff time and clinician morale. 

2015 is the first year the federal payment programs will penalize providers who report unsuccessfully and those penalties will increase over time. Unsuccessful reporting in 2015 will subject physicians and other eligible providers to Medicare payment penalties as high as 11 percent, levied in future years.  

“Medicare has lost focus with its physician quality reporting programs. Instead of providing timely, meaningful and actionable information to help physicians treat patients, this has become a massive bureaucratic reporting exercise. Each program has its own set of arcane and duplicative rules which force physician practices to divert resources away from patient care,” said Anders Gilberg, MGMA senior vice president of government affairs, in a release. “MGMA continues to advocate for a single-harmonized Medicare quality improvement initiative that standardizes reporting and supports physicians in their efforts to improve care for their patients.”

MGMA conducted the Physician Practice Assessment: Medicare Quality Reporting Programs research in October 2014. The assessment includes responses from more than 1,000 medical groups in which more than 48,000 physicians practice nationwide.

Access the complete report.