Home Health Agencies
Home Health Outcomes Based Quality Improvement (OBQI)
On May 1, 2003, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began publicly reporting Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) outcome data for home health agencies in New Mexico and seven other states selected by CMS to participate in a Phase I public reporting pilot project. (see Home Health Compare at http://www.medicare.gov/ [opens in new window] Quality measures for the rest of the country became available on November 3, 2003.
CMS has for some time required home health agencies to submit OASIS data for reimbursement. OASIS is a group of data items developed for the purpose of enabling rigorous and systematic measurement of patient home health care outcomes. Outcomes have been defined in many ways, but those derived from OASIS items have very specific definitions: they measure changes in a patient's health status between two or more time points.
CMS developed Outcome Based Quality Improvement (OBQI) as a method to use OASIS data for quality improvement. Under OBQI, quality is measured against the ultimate yardstick - patient outcomes. Using OASIS data allows the home health agency to evaluate its efforts at quality of care improvement over time. The outcome reports furnished from the OASIS dataset also enable the agency to benchmark its outcomes against national averages.
State OASIS education coordinators (OECs), state home care associations and CMS Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) across the United States are working cooperatively to train and support home health agencies through October 2005. Their efforts will focus on assisting agencies in their efforts to implement OBQI and in improving processes of care.
CMS will monitor OBQI progress through the OASIS data submitted by home health agencies. CMS has contracted with state QIOs to coordinate all CMS OBQI training. The New Mexico Medical Review Association (NMMRA) - New Mexico's QIO - is excited to be leading this patient care improvement project.