Fresenius still largest nephrology quality data registry

For the fourth consecutive year since a federal data registry program was launched in 2007, Fresenius’ chronic kidney disease data registry has been the largest registry for nephrology. Fresenius and dozens of other registries have gained admittance as official registries in the federal program that requires physician quality-indicator reporting. That program, the Physicians Quality Reporting System (PQRS) is administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The Fresenius registry, known as Acumen PQRS, has been a qualified CMS data registry since 2009. In 2015, participation will be required of all medical professionals who are eligible to report the work as described by the required indicators. The PQRS federal program was designed to enhance the quality of information reported by health care professionals.

“Acumen PQRS will continue to provide nephrologists with the best data registry for their practices,” said Terry Ketchersid, MD, vice president and medical officer for Fresenius Medical Care, who directs the Acumen registry. “We are committed to maintaining our level of excellence.”

The program uses both financial incentives and penalties to ensure high-quality reporting. The system pays physicians incentive bonuses for appropriate and correct use of registry reporting of quality measures. Beginning in 2015, eligible professionals who don’t participate will face a payment adjustment.

The Acumen database added 700 new reporting members last year, Fresenius reported.

Each year, the measures can change in content. The Renal Physicians Association (RPA) has taken an active role in developing the nephrology measures used by the program. On September 4, the group wrote to Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator for CMS, and asked for consideration of the same suggested quality measures submitted to CMS nearly a year ago, in October 2011. An example of a suggested quality measure would be percentage of calendar months within a 12-month period during which patients 18 years old and older with a diagnosis of ESRD who were receiving hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis had a hemoglobin level below 10 g/dL.

The American Medical Association notes that “the CMS believes these quality initiatives aim to empower providers and consumers with information that would support the overall delivery and coordination of care, and ultimately would support new payment systems that provide more financial resources to provide improved quality care.” Currently CMS reimburses for the volume of covered services.