CMS approves NACOR as Registry for Anesthesiologists

The National Anesthesia Clinical Outcomes Registry (NACOR) has been designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR). A QCDR is a new mechanism to report physician performance.  NACOR was among the first 40 registries to receive the QCDR designation. This designation will have significant implications for our specialty. In the next five years, CMS will phase out claims-based reporting in favor of registry-based reporting.  With this change, responsibility for measure development, data collection and reporting will move from CMS to specialty society registries like AQI/NACOR. The most important aspect of the QCDR designation is that it allows ASA to select and develop its own measures. Previously, physician anesthesiologists were limited to reporting three measures to the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). Now we can use more than a dozen additional anesthesia-related measures through the QCDR option to meet the evolving federal requirements. Further, we will have the ability to add additional measures in coming years, to cover subspecialty areas and related disciplines such as pain medicine and critical care. The goal is to enable every physician anesthesiologist to readily report on outcomes that matter to them and their patients.  

New QCDR Registry Measures include:

  • Post-anesthestic transfer of care: Use of checklist or protocol for direct transfer of care from procedure room to Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Post-anesthestic transfer of care measure – procedure room to post-anesthesia care unit
  • Prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting – combination therapy (adults)
  • Prevention  of post-operative vomiting – combination therapy (pediatrics)
  • Composite anesthesia safety
  • Immediate perioperative cardiac arrest rate
  • Immediate perioperative mortality rate
  • PACU reintubation rate 
  • Short-term pain management
  • Composite procedural safety for central line placement
  • Composite patient experience measure

The QCDR option has far-reaching implications regarding how physician anesthesiologists receive the 2014 payment bonus or incentive of 0.5 percent. It will also impact physician anesthesiologists who fail to successfully report after 2015 with payment penalties starting at 1.5 percent and increasing steadily afterwards. This new reporting vehicle will transform how physician anesthesiologists participate in PQRS. It will also significantly change how measures impacting patients, physician anesthesiologists and other providers are developed, tested and ultimately used to improve patient care and safety.  More information about performance reporting and the QCDR mechanism is available at Practices wishing to use NACOR and the QCDR mechanism to report performance in 2014 should notify Lance Mueller, director of the Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI), at or call (847) 825-5586, ext. 190.

CMS Announces Vetted PQRI Registries List for 2010

CMS recently announced that a group of 31 PQRI  registries have become “qualified” to submit quality data to CMS on behalf of their eligible professionals for 2010 PQRI reporting. CMS indicated taht each registry has gone through a thorough vetting process including checking their capability to provide the required PQRI data elements, reviewing a measure flow (this checks to see whether the registry calculates the measure’s reporting and performance rates correctly), and transmitting the required information in the requested file format (XML). While the listed registries successfully completed the vetting process, CMS does not guarantee that any or all of the listed registries will be successful in providing the required information on behalf of their eligible professionals for the possible payment incentive. This list, however, represents those registries who successfully submitted data for 2008 PQRI in early 2009 on behalf of their eligible professional clients. Additional 2009 “qualified” registries (who have completed the vetting process) will be submitting 2009 PQRI data in early 2010 and will be added to this list if their data submission is successful (list update anticipated Spring 2010). Finally,  other registries will be allowed to become “qualified” for 2010 PQRI participation. CMS expects to complete the vetting process and post the names of the new registries by the summer of 2010. Eligible professionals who wish to participate in 2010 PQRI using one of the registry-based options may contact the PQRI registries directly for additional details on participation options.