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Sec1890[42 U.S.C. 1395aaa] (a) Contract.—

(1) In general.—For purposes of activities conducted under this Act, the Secretary shall identify and have in effect a contract with a consensus-based entity, such as the National Quality Forum, that meets the requirements described in subsection (c). Such contract shall provide that the entity will perform the duties described in subsection (b).

(2) Timing for first contract.—As soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this subsection, the Secretary shall enter into the first contract under paragraph (1).

(3) Period of contract.—A contract under paragraph (1) shall be for a period of 4 years (except as may be renewed after a subsequent bidding process).

(4) Competitive procedures.—Competitive procedures (as defined in section 4(5) of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 403(5))) shall be used to enter into a contract under paragraph (1).

(b) Duties.—

(1) Priority setting process.—The entity shall synthesize evidence and convene key stakeholders to make recommendations, with respect to activities conducted under this Act, on an integrated national strategy and priorities for health care performance measurement in all applicable settings. In making such recommendations, the entity shall—

(A) ensure that priority is given to measures—

(i) that address the health care provided to patients with prevalent, high-cost chronic diseases;

(ii) with the greatest potential for improving the quality, efficiency, and patient-centeredness of health care; and

(iii) that may be implemented rapidly due to existing evidence, standards of care, or other reasons; and

(B) take into account measures that—

(i) may assist consumers and patients in making informed health care decisions;

(ii) address health disparities across groups and areas; and

(iii) address the continuum of care a patient receives, including services furnished by multiple health care providers or practitioners and across multiple settings.

(2) Endorsement of measures.—The entity shall provide for the endorsement of standardized health care performance measures. The endorsement process under the preceding sentence shall consider whether a measure—

(A) is evidence-based, reliable, valid, verifiable, relevant to enhanced health outcomes, actionable at the caregiver level, feasible to collect and report, and responsive to variations in patient characteristics, such as health status, language capabilities, race or ethnicity, and income level; and

(B) is consistent across types of health care providers, including hospitals and physicians.

(3) Maintenance of measures.—The entity shall establish and implement a process to ensure that measures endorsed under paragraph (2) are updated (or retired if obsolete) as new evidence is developed.

(4) [Stricken.[419]]

(5) Annual report to congress and the secretary; secretarial publication and comment.—

(A) Annual report.—By not later than March 1 of each year (beginning with 2009), the entity shall submit to Congress and the Secretary a report containing a description of—

(i) the implementation of quality and efficiency measurement initiatives under this Act and the coordination of such initiatives with quality and efficiency initiatives implemented by other payers;

(ii) the recommendations made under paragraph (1);

(iii) the performance by the entity of the duties required under the contract entered into with the Secretary under subsection (a);

(iv) gaps in endorsed quality and efficiency measures, which shall include measures that are within priority areas identified by the Secretary under the national strategy established under section 399HH of the Public Health Service Act[420], and where quality and efficiency measures are unavailable or inadequate to identify or address such gaps;

(v) areas in which evidence is insufficient to support endorsement of quality and efficiency measures in priority areas identified by the Secretary under the national strategy established under section 399HH of the Public Health Service Act and where targeted research may address such gaps; and

(vi) the matters described in clauses (i) and (ii) of paragraph (7)(A).

(B) Secretarial review and publication of annual report.—Not later than 6 months after receiving a report under subparagraph (A) for a year, the Secretary shall—

(i) review such report; and

(ii) publish such report in the Federal Register, together with any comments of the Secretary on such report.

(6) Review and endorsement of episode grouper under the physician feedback program.—The entity shall provide for the review and, as appropriate, the endorsement of the episode grouper developed by the Secretary under section 1848(n)(9)(A). Such review shall be conducted on an expedited basis.

(7) Convening multi-stakeholder groups.—

(A) In general.—The entity shall convene multistakeholder groups to provide input on—

(i) the selection of quality and efficiency measures described in subparagraph (B), from among—

(I) such measures that have been endorsed by the entity; and

(II) such measures that have not been considered for endorsement by such entity but are used or proposed to be used by the Secretary for the collection or reporting of quality and efficiency measures; and

(ii) national priorities (as identified under section 399HH of the Public Health Service Act[421]) for improvement in population health and in the delivery of health care services for consideration under the national strategy established under section 399HH of the Public Health Service Act.

(B) Quality and efficiency measures.—

(i) In general.—Subject to clause (ii), the quality and efficiency measures described in this subparagraph are quality and efficiency measures—

(I) for use pursuant to sections 1814(i)(5)(D), 1833(i)(7), 1833(t)(17), 1848(k)(2)(C), 1866(k)(3), 1881(h)(2)(A)(iii), 1886(b)(3)(B)(viii), 1886(j)(7)(D), 1886(m)(5)(D), 1886(o)(2), 1886(s)(4)(D), and 1895(b)(3)(B)(v);

(II) for use in reporting performance information to the public; and

(III) for use in health care programs other than for use under this Act.

(ii) Exclusion—Data sets (such as the outcome and assessment information set for home health services and the minimum data set for skilled nursing facility services) that are used for purposes of classification systems used in establishing payment rates under this title shall not be quality and efficiency measures described in this subparagraph.

(C) Requirement for transparency in process.—

(i) In general.—In convening multi-stakeholder groups under subparagraph (A) with respect to the selection of quality and efficiency measures, the entity shall provide for an open and transparent process for the activities conducted pursuant to such convening.

(ii) Selection of organizations participating in multi-stakeholder groups.—The process described in clause (i) shall ensure that the selection of representatives comprising such groups provides for public nominations for, and the opportunity for public comment on, such selection.

(D) Multi-stakeholder group defined.—In this paragraph, the term “multi-stakeholder group” means, with respect to a quality and efficiency measure, a voluntary collaborative of organizations representing a broad group of stakeholders interested in or affected by the use of such quality and efficiency measure.

(8) Transmission of multi-stakeholder input.—Not later than February 1 of each year (beginning with 2012), the entity shall transmit to the Secretary the input of multistakeholder groups provided under paragraph (7).

(c) Requirements Described.—The requirements described in this subsection are the following:

(1) Private nonprofit.—The entity is a private nonprofit entity governed by a board.

(2) Board membership.—The members of the board of the entity include—

(A) representatives of health plans and health care providers and practitioners or representatives of groups representing such health plans and health care providers and practitioners;

(B) health care consumers or representatives of groups representing health care consumers; and

(C) representatives of purchasers and employers or representatives of groups representing purchasers or employers.

(3) Entity membership.—The membership of the entity includes persons who have experience with—

(A) urban health care issues;

(B) safety net health care issues;

(C) rural and frontier health care issues; and

(D) health care quality and efficiency and safety issues.

(4) Open and transparent.—With respect to matters related to the contract with the Secretary under subsection (a), the entity conducts its business in an open and transparent manner and provides the opportunity for public comment on its activities.

(5) Voluntary consensus standards setting organization.—The entity operates as a voluntary consensus standards setting organization as defined for purposes of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (Public Law 104–113) and Office of Management and Budget Revised Circular A–119 (published in the Federal Register on February 10, 1998).

(6) Experience.—The entity has at least 4 years of experience in establishing national consensus standards.

(7) Membership fees.—If the entity requires a membership fee for participation in the functions of the entity, such fees shall be reasonable and adjusted based on the capacity of the potential member to pay the fee. In no case shall membership fees pose a barrier to the participation of individuals or groups with low or nominal resources to participate in the functions of the entity.

(d) Funding.—For purposes of carrying out this section, the Secretary shall provide for the transfer, from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under section 1817 and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund under section 1841 (in such proportion as the Secretary determines appropriate), of $10,000,000 to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Program Management Account for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2013[422].

[419]  P.L. 112-240, §609(a)(2), struck out paragraph (4), effective January 2, 2013. For paragraph (4) as it formerly read, see Vol. II, Appendix J, Superseded Provisions, P.L. 112-240.

[420]  See Vol. II, P.L. 78-410, §399HH, with respect to a national strategy for quality improvement in health care.

[421]  See Vol. II, P.L. 78-410, §399HH.

[422]  P.L. 112-240, §609(a)(1), struck out “fiscal years 2009 through 2012” and inserted “fiscal years 2009 through 2013”, effective January 2, 2013.