(a) Statutory authority. Section 1833(t)(17) of the Act authorizes the Secretary to implement a quality reporting program in a manner so as to provide for a 2.0 percentage point reduction in the OPD fee schedule increase factor for a subsection (d) hospital (as defined in section 1886(d)(1)(B)) that does not submit data required to be submitted on measures in accordance with the Secretary's requirements in this part.
(b) Participation in the Hospital OQR Program. To participate in the Hospital OQR Program, a hospital as defined in section 1886(d)(1)(B) of the Act and is paid under the OPPS must -
(1) Register on the QualityNet website before beginning to report data;
(2) Identify and register a QualityNet security official as part of the registration process under paragraph (b)(1) of this section; and
(3) Submit at least one data element.
(c) Withdrawal from the Hospital OQR Program. A participating hospital may withdraw from the Hospital OQR Program by submitting to CMS a withdrawal form that can be found in the secure portion of the QualityNet website. The hospital may withdraw any time up to and including August 31 of the year prior to the affected annual payment updates. A withdrawn hospital will not be able to later sign up to participate in that payment update, is subject to a reduced annual payment update as specified under paragraph (i) of this section, and is required to renew participation as specified in paragraph (b) of this section in order to participate in any future year of the Hospital OQR Program.
(d) Submission of Hospital OQR Program data.
(1) General rule. Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, hospitals that participate in the Hospital OQR Program must submit to CMS data on measures selected under section 1833(t)(17)(C) of the Act in a form and manner, and at a time, specified by CMS. Hospitals sharing the same CCN must combine data collection and submission across their multiple campuses for all clinical measures for public reporting purposes.
(2) Submission deadlines. Submission deadlines by measure and by data type are posted on the QualityNet website. All deadlines occurring on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, or on any other day all or part of which is declared to be a nonwork day for Federal employees by statute or Executive order are extended to the first day thereafter which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday or any other day all or part of which is declared to be a nonwork day for Federal employees by statute or Executive order.
(3) Initial submission deadlines for a hospital that did not participate in the previous year's Hospital OQR Program.
(i) Hospitals that did not participate in the previous year's Hospital OQR Program must initially submit data beginning with encounters occurring during the first calendar quarter of the year prior to the affected annual payment update.
(ii) Hospitals that did not participate in the previous year's Hospital OQR Program must follow data submission deadlines as specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
(iii) Hospitals with a Medicare acceptance date before or after January 1 of the year prior to an affected annual payment update must follow data submission deadlines as specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
(4) Review and corrections period. For both chart-abstracted and web-based measures, hospitals have a review and corrections period, which runs concurrently with the data submission period. During this timeframe, hospitals can enter, review, and correct data submitted. However, after the submission deadline, this data cannot be changed.
(e) Exception. CMS may grant an exception to one or more data submission deadlines and requirements in the event of extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the hospital, such as when an act of nature affects an entire region or locale or a systemic problem with one of CMS' data collection systems directly or indirectly affects data submission. CMS may grant an exception as follows:
(1) Upon request by the hospital. Specific requirements for submission of a request for an exception are available on the QualityNet Web site.
(2) At the discretion of CMS. CMS may grant exceptions to hospitals that have not requested them when CMS determines that an extraordinary circumstance has occurred.
(f) Validation of Hospital OQR Program data . CMS may validate one or more measures selected under section 1833(t)(17)(C) of the Act by reviewing documentation of patient encounters submitted by selected participating hospitals.
(1) Upon written request by CMS or its contractor, a hospital must submit to CMS supporting medical record documentation that the hospital used for purposes of data submission under the program. The specific sample that a hospital must submit will be identified in the written request. A hospital must submit the supporting medical record documentation to CMS or its contractor within 45 days of the date identified on the written request, in the form and manner specified in the written request.
(2) A hospital meets the validation requirement with respect to a calendar year if it achieves at least a 75-percent reliability score, as determined by CMS.
(3) CMS will select a random sample of 450 hospitals for validation purposes, and will select an additional 50 hospitals for validation purposes based on the following criteria:
(i) The hospital fails the validation requirement that applies to the previous year's payment determination; or
(ii) The hospital has an outlier value for a measure based on the data it submits. An “outlier value” is a measure value that is greater than 5 standard deviations from the mean of the measure values for other hospitals, and indicates a poor score.
(4) Hospitals that are selected and receive a score for validation of chart-abstracted measures may request an educational review in order to better understand the results within 30 calendar days from the date the validation results are made available. If the results of an educational review indicate that a hospital's medical records selected for validation for chart-abstracted measures was incorrectly scored, the corrected quarterly validation score will be used to compute the hospital's final validation score at the end of the calendar year.
(g) Reconsiderations and appeals of Hospital OQR Program decisions.
(1) A hospital may request reconsideration of a decision by CMS that the hospital has not met the requirements of the Hospital OQR Program in paragraph (b) of this section for a particular calendar year. Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, a hospital must submit a reconsideration request to CMS via the QualityNet website, no later than March 17, or if March 17 falls on a nonwork day, on the first day after March 17 which is not a nonwork day as defined in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, of the affected payment year as determined using the date the request was mailed or submitted to CMS.
(2) A reconsideration request must contain the following information:
(i) The hospital's CMS Certification Number (CCN);
(ii) The name of the hospital;
(iii) The CMS-identified reason for not meeting the requirements of the affected payment year's Hospital OQR Program as provided in any CMS notification to the hospital;
(iv) The hospital's basis for requesting reconsideration. The hospital must identify its specific reason(s) for believing it should not be subject to the reduced annual payment update;
(v) The hospital-designated personnel contact information, including name, email address, telephone number, and mailing address (must include physical mailing address, not just a post office box);
(vi) The hospital-designated personnel's signature;
(vii) A copy of all materials that the hospital submitted to comply with the requirements of the affected Hospital OQR Program payment determination year; and
(viii) If the hospital is requesting reconsideration on the basis that CMS determined it did not meet the affected payment determination year's validation requirement set forth in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the hospital must provide a written justification for each appealed data element classified during the validation process as a mismatch. Only data elements that affect a hospital's validation score are eligible to be reconsidered.
(3) A hospital that is dissatisfied with a decision made by CMS on its reconsideration request may file an appeal with the Provider Reimbursement Review Board under part 405, subpart R, of this chapter.
(h) Requirements for Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgery Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (OAS CAHPS) Survey. OAS CAHPS is the Outpatient and Ambulatory Surgical Center Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey that measures patient experience of care after a recent surgery or procedure at either a hospital outpatient department or an ambulatory surgical center. Hospital outpatient departments must use an approved OAS CAHPS survey vendor to administer and submit OAS CAHPS data to CMS.
(2) CMS approves an application for an entity to administer the OAS CAHPS Survey as a vendor on behalf of one or more hospital outpatient departments when the applicant has met the Minimum Survey Requirements and Rules of Participation that can be found on the official OAS CAHPS website, and agrees to comply with the current survey administration protocols that can be found on the official OAS CAHPS Survey website. An entity must be an approved OAS CAHPS Survey vendor in order to administer and submit OAS CAHPS Survey data to CMS on behalf of one or more hospital outpatient departments.
(i) Retention and removal of quality measures under the Hospital OQR Program -
(1) General rule for the retention of quality measures. Quality measures adopted for the Hospital OQR Program measure set for a previous payment determination year are retained for use in subsequent payment determination years, except when they are removed, suspended, or replaced as set forth in paragraphs (i)(2) and (3) of this section.
(2) Immediate measure removal. For cases in which CMS believes that the continued use of a measure as specified raises patient safety concerns, CMS will immediately remove a quality measure from the Hospital OQR Program and will promptly notify hospitals and the public of the removal of the measure and the reasons for its removal through the Hospital OQR Program ListServ and the QualityNet website.
(3) Measure removal, suspension, or replacement through the rulemaking process. Unless a measure raises specific safety concerns as set forth in paragraph (i)(2) of this section, CMS will use the regular rulemaking process to remove, suspend, or replace quality measures in the Hospital OQR Program to allow for public comment.
(i) Factors for consideration of removal of quality measures. CMS will weigh whether to remove measures based on the following factors:
(A) Factor 1. Measure performance among hospitals is so high and unvarying that meaningful distinctions and improvements in performance can no longer be made (“topped out” measures);
(B) Factor 2. Performance or improvement on a measure does not result in better patient outcomes;
(C) Factor 3. A measure does not align with current clinical guidelines or practice;
(D) Factor 4. The availability of a more broadly applicable (across settings, populations, or conditions) measure for the topic;
(E) Factor 5. The availability of a measure that is more proximal in time to desired patient outcomes for the particular topic;
(F) Factor 6. The availability of a measure that is more strongly associated with desired patient outcomes for the particular topic;
(G) Factor 7. Collection or public reporting of a measure leads to negative unintended consequences other than patient harm; and
(H) Factor 8. The costs associated with a measure outweigh the benefit of its continued use in the program.
(ii) Criteria to determine topped-out measures. For the purposes of the Hospital OQR Program, a measure is considered to be topped-out under paragraph (i)(3)(i)(A) of this section when it meets both of the following criteria:
(A) Statistically indistinguishable performance at the 75th and 90th percentiles (defined as when the difference between the 75th and 90th percentiles for a hospital's measure is within two times the standard error of the full data set); and
(B) A truncated coefficient of variation less than or equal to 0.10.
(iii) Application of measure removal factors. The benefits of removing a measure from the Hospital OQR Program will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Under this case-by-case approach, a measure will not be removed solely on the basis of meeting any specific factor.
[78 FR 75196, Dec. 10, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 67031, Nov. 10, 2014; 80 FR 70606, Nov. 13, 2015; 81 FR 79879, Nov. 14, 2016; 82 FR 52637, Nov. 13, 2017; 82 FR 59497, Dec. 14, 2017; 83 FR 59179, Nov. 21, 2018; 85 FR 86302, Dec. 29, 2020]