[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 104 (Friday, May 28, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Page 30654]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-12107]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


Preliminary Measure Sets for the National Healthcare Quality 
Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report

Request for Comments

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announces a 
request for public comment on the Proposed 2004 Measure Sets to be used 
in preparing the National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR) and National 
Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR). The NHQR and NHDR are 
congressionally mandated reports (see 42 U.S.C. 299b-2(b)(2) regarding 
an annual report on National trends in health care quality and see 42 
U.S.C. 299a-1(a)(6) regarding an annual report on disparities in health 
care among AHRQ's priority populations). The 2003 Measure Sets for the 
reports were generated through extensive input with public and private 
organizations, including a call for measures to Federal agencies and 
private organizations AHRQ issued through the Quality Interagency 
Coordination Task Force (QuIC), from October 2000-February 2001. The 
Institute of Medicine issued a separate call to private organizations 
from June-July 2000, the results of which were shared with the 
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Interagency DHHS 
working groups then reviewed and revised the candidate measures. A 
public hearing on the revised measures was held in July 2002 with the 
National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. The 2003 reports to 
Congress, based on these measure sets, were released in December 2003. 
AHRQ and the interagency working groups for the reports have been 
working to update the measure sets based on comments received during 
the Departmental clearance of the 2003 reports and the two public 
comment periods for the 2003 reports. AHRQ and the interagency working 
groups are now seeking comments on the revised measure sets for each 
report. In general, AHRQ is interested in comments on (1) the extent to 
which each proposed new measure set consists of measures that meet the 
criteria of importance, scientific soundness, and feasibility; (2) the 
appropriateness of the data sources for each measure; and (3) the 
extent to which each set has balance, comprehensiveness, and 
robustness.
    AHRQ is also looking for comments on the set of proposed measures 
that will be highlighted in the 2004 NHQR and NHDR. The proposed 
highlight measures are a subset of the larger measure sets for the NHQR 
and NHDR and will be featured in the report text.

Availability of Preliminary Measure Set

    A copy of the Preliminary Measure Set for the 2004 NHQR is 
available from AHRQ Web site at: http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/nhqr04/
premeasures.htm.
    A copy of the Preliminary Measure Set for the 2004 NHDR is 
available from AHRQ Web site at: http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/nhdr04/
premeasures.htm.
    Copies of the List of Proposed Highlight Measures are available 
from the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/nhqr04/
himeasures.htm.
    For organizations without access to the Internet, AHRQ will make a 
paper version available either through overnight mail or by fax upon 
written request. Requests for paper versions of the preliminary measure 
set should be faxed to the fax number below.

Comments Deadline

    Written comments will be accepted by 30 days after publication. For 
submission of written comments and additional information: Ed Kelley, 
PhD, Director, National Healthcare Quality Report, Center for Quality 
Improvement and Patient Safety, Agency for Healthcare Research and 
Quality, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, Maryland 20850, e-mail: 
ekelley@ahrq.gov or absent internet access, fax to Dr. Edward Kelley at 
(301) 427-1341.

Public Review of Comments

    Comments and responses received will be available for public 
inspection at AHRQ's Information Resource Center (IRC) public reading 
room between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on regular business days 
at 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Arrangements for 
viewing public comments may be made by calling (301) 427-1287.
    Responses may also be accessed through AHRQ's Electronic Freedom of 
Information Reading Room.

    Dated: May 24, 2004.
Carolyn M. Clancy,
Director.
[FR Doc. 04-12107 Filed 5-27-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4160-90-M