Palliative Care Quality Measures Guide: Elevating Patient and Caregiver Voices

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) developed this implementation guide to help palliative care teams implement and collect data for two patient-reported outcome performance measures (PROPMs) for quality improvement (QI) and regulatory reporting efforts. The Palliative Care Measures Project was led by AAHPM, with subrecipients the RAND Corporation and the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care and was funded under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) to develop two quality measures. The project was a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and AAHPM from September 2018 to September 2021.

This (80-page) Guide was designed to help clinicians and their palliative care teams implement two new PRO-PMs for palliative care in QI and/or quality reporting program efforts. The Guide is designed to support varying levels of experience and expertise. The measures described in this Guide were designed and tested in outpatient palliative care settings with patients aged 18 years and older who have serious illness. The measures have not been tested or validated with other patient populations or in other clinical settings. However, this does not prevent clinicians and programs from implementing these measures in other patient populations or care settings for QI efforts. Additional details about the measures and related links are provided in the next section.

Quality measures are defined by CMS as “tools that help us measure or quantify healthcare processes, outcomes, patient perceptions, and organizational structure and/or systems that are associated with the ability to provide high quality health care and/or that relate to one or more quality goals for health care.” The two measures fall under the category of patient-reported outcome performance measures and are intended for palliative care providers to evaluate the quality of care they deliver based upon patient-reported experience.

Description of the Measures

Measure 1: Patients’ experience of feeling heard and understood

Measure 2: Patients’ experience of receiving desired help for pain