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Common Measure Set measures health care progress in Washington

The Washington State Common Measure Set for Health Care Quality and Cost is a set of 52 measures that enable a common way of tracking important elements of health and how well the health care system is performing. The Washington Health Alliance (Alliance) and the Washington State Health Care Authority today released the first results of the Common Measure set, showing that despite some successes, Washington falls far short of the Alliance’s and HCA’s vision that the state will be in the top 10 percent nationally in the delivery of high-quality health care.

Washington is among the first states to establish a common measure set. The measures enable a shared understanding of areas that should be targeted for improvement. We anticipate results from the measures will be used to inform health care purchasing by public entities, such as state, county and city government, as well as private companies.

What do the measures focus on?

The measures are focused on access to primary care, prevention, acute care and chronic care. Results are drawn from a variety of sources. Depending on the measure, results may be available for medical groups and clinics, and/or hospitals. For the first time this year, performance results are being publicly shared for health insurance plans serving both the Medicaid-insured and commercially-insured populations. Many measure results are also available for counties, Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs) and on a statewide basis, while other measures are reported only at the statewide level.

Measures focus on access to primary care, acute care, prevention and chronic care.

The Common Measure Set helps determine how well the health care system is performing and will enable a shared understanding of areas that should be targeted for improvement. Graphic: Washington Health Alliance.

How does it affect you?

Over time, the expectation is that private and other public purchasers as well as health plans will adopt the Common Measure Set, building the measures directly into value-based health care contracts with doctors and hospitals. As part of the Healthier Washington initiative, Washington aims to drive 80 percent of state-financed health care and 50 percent of the commercial market to value-based payment by 2020, meaning payment that is tied to quality and outcomes and not just volume.

In the end, this is good news for consumers. When providers and payers align efforts to improve health care in our state, people will receive better health care when they need it, experience better health during their lives and health care is more affordable and accessible.

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Published: December 8, 2015

About Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington state’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance believes strongly in transparency and offers trusted and credible reporting of progress on measures of health care quality and value. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 185 member organizations. A cornerstone of the Alliance's work is the Community Checkup, a report to the public comparing the performance of medical groups, hospitals and health plans and offering a community-level view on important measures of health care quality (www.wacommunitycheckup.org).

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