The Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to develop a plan by Jan. 1, 2012, to move toward integrating the reporting measures under the electronic Physician Quality Reporting Initiative and the electronic health records meaningful use incentive program of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In a proposed rule setting payment policies under the Medicare Part B physician payment fee schedule for calendar year 2011, CMS starts the steps toward such integration.

"In an effort to align PQRI with the EHR incentive program, we propose to include many ARRA core clinical quality measures in the PQRI program to demonstrate meaningful use of EHR and quality of care furnished to individuals," according to the proposed rule. "We propose the selection of these measures to meet the requirements of planning the integration of PQRI and EHR reporting."

Consequently, CMS in the proposed rule is soliciting comments on its approach to integrate measures of the two reporting programs. "Specifically, we encourage comments on how CMS plans to align the measures, and how the plan for integration will optimally improve quality of care for individuals and provide meaningful use of EHRs."

CMS expects to publish the proposed rule on July 13. It is available on a non-final format now at the Federal Register's Public Inspection Desk at

--Joseph Goedert


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