The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could learn a lot from private entities who are using multiple benchmarks to assess the performance of Medicare physicians, according to the Government Accountability Office. In a new report, GAO recommended that CMS consider expanding performance benchmarks to include state or regional averages, and disseminating feedback reports more frequently than the current annual distribution.

"While private entities employed multiple benchmarks, the agency only compared each group's results to the national average rates of all physician groups that submitted data on any given measure," the report states. "CMS's use of a single benchmark precludes physicians from viewing their performance in fuller context, such as relative to their peers in the same geographic areas."

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