HHS on Tuesday created a summit that will enlist federal and private healthcare leaders to determine how to streamline and improve the agency's quality programs.
The group, which will be the Quality Summit, is in response to a recent executive order from President Donald Trump calling on federal health agencies to develop a strategy within six months that will align quality measures across Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, the health insurance marketplace, the Military Health System and the Veterans Affairs health system.
The summit will be chaired by HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan and Dr. Peter Pronovost, chief clinical transformation officer at University Hospitals in Cleveland, who is also a well-regarded patient-safety expert.
Summit participants will include government stakeholders as well as roughly 15 healthcare industry leaders, according to the news release.
The agency said the summit members will provide "critical insight" on the best ways to align the measures used across the federal quality programs as ordered by the Trump administration. They will also discuss strategies to reduce burden and "improve providers' abilities to deliver high-quality care to their patients."
In its announcement, HHS noted the federal quality programs haven't been reviewed externally since their inception. The first federal quality program was implemented in 2000.
"Over the last decade we have seen efforts by HHS to incentivize the provision of quality care, only to be met with limited success," Hargan said. "This is in part because patients have not been empowered with meaningful or actionable information to inform their decisionmaking. At the same time, important quality programs across the department have remained uncoordinated among the various agencies and inconsistent in their demands on healthcare providers."
Hospitals, quality researchers and ambulatory surgery centers are supportive of the effort to align the federal government's quality programs. They argue that alignment of measures will encourage more improvement and help consumers make better care decisions. At the same time, they caution the effort will be challenging to achieve, especially in six months.
It wasn't immediately clear if the summit will be a single meeting or several. The agency is seeking nominations for summit participants until July 31.