[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 18 (Monday, January 28, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5810-5811]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01348]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


AHRQ Standing Workgroup for Quality Indicator Measure 
Specification

AGENCY: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), HHS.

ACTION: Notice of request for nominations.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is 
seeking nominations for both a time-limited work group and a standing 
work group to be convened by an AHRQ contractor. The work groups shall 
be comprised of individuals with knowledge of the AHRQ Quality 
Indicators (QIs), their technical specifications, and associated 
methodological issues. The overarching goals of each group are to 
provide feedback to AHRQ regarding refinements to the Qls. The time-
limited workgroup is more restricted to specific clinical or 
methodological issues, while the standing workgroup addresses broader 
issues related to the measurement cycle.

DATES: Please submit nominations on or before March 15, 2013. Self-
nominations are welcome. Third-party nominations must indicate that the 
individual has been contacted and is willing to serve on the workgroup. 
Selected candidates will be contacted by AHRQ no later than April 5, 
2013. Please include the committee of interest. Candidates may apply 
for both.

ADDRESSES: Nominations can be sent in the form of a letter or email, 
preferably as an electronic file with an email attachment, and should 
specifically address the submission criteria as noted below. Electronic 
submissions are strongly encouraged. Responses should be submitted to: 
ATTN: Pamela Owens, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Center 
for Delivery, Organization and Markets, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 
20850, Email: pam.owens@AHRQ.hhs.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pamela Owens, Ph.D., Senior Research 
Scientist, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Center for 
Delivery, Organization and Markets, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 
20850, Email: pam.owens@AHRQ.hhs.gov; Phone: (301) 427-1412; Fax: (301) 
427-1430.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: These workgroups are being administered by 
AHRQ's contractor as part of a structured approach to formally and 
broadly engage stakeholders, and to enhance and expand transparency 
about the scientific development of the AHRQ QIs.

Time-Limited Work Group

    Time-limited workgroups are formative in nature, providing feedback 
on significant measure improvement issues and representing a broad 
range of stakeholders. The focus for this upcoming year will be the 
Prevention Quality Indicators (PQI). The role of time-limited group 
members is to: (1) Provide technical guidance on the PQI specifications 
and rationales, risk adjustment strategies, and other quality 
measurement issues; (2) provide input on critical information gaps, as 
well as research methods to address them; (3) provide guidance on draft 
recommendations for the PQI measure refinements; (4) offer 
scientifically rigorous recommendations for the evaluation and 
validation efforts required to ensure the accuracy of the PQIs; and, 
(5) provide input on and review of the contractor's technical report 
resulting from the workgroup's discussions.
    The time-limited workgroup will consist of 8-12 members consisting 
of:
     One or more statisticians specialized in the relevant 
statistical methods and applications
     One or more individuals with expertise in community health 
care and prevention, and access to and quality of care
     One or more individuals with experience using AHRQ PQI 
measures for assessing health system performance and public reporting
     One or more individuals with expertise in developing 
algorithms using ICD-9-CM codes to construct or modify quality 
indicators using administrative data is desirable, but not mandatory
    In addition, the work group is expected to include representatives 
from impacted provider groups and their professional organizations, 
other stakeholders, consumers and other users, quality alliances, 
medical or specialty societies, measure developers, accrediting 
organizations, and public and private payers.

Standing Work Group

    The standing workgroup is part of a structured approach to bring 
together individuals from multiple disciplines for the purpose of 
providing technical feedback on proposed updates to the AHRQ QIs. The 
intent is to collect

[[Page 5811]]

feedback in a standardized fashion, and to ensure continued improvement 
of key measurement aspects of the QIs based on new data sources, data 
enhancements, and methodological advances. The standing workgroup may 
potentially provide guidance for the development of new indicators or 
the modification or retirement of existing indicators. Annual topics 
include: (1) Strategic areas for AHRQ QI program development for the 
upcoming year, (2) measure specification, software and documentation 
changes that have been proposed from users, the literature or other 
sources, (3) results from the analysis of proposed changes and review 
of recommendations for implementation, and (4) general methodological 
developments in quality measurement.
    The standing workgroup will consist of a diverse group of 
clinicians and other individuals from a variety of disciplines and 
settings with expertise and interest in quality measurement and 
improvement. Members of the standing workgroup may include:
     One or more currently practicing clinicians specialized in 
various disciplines
     One or more individuals with inpatient nursing and/or 
nursing management experience
     One or more individuals with experience using AHRQ QI 
measures for assessing hospital performance and/or public reporting
     One or more individuals with expertise in developing 
algorithms for relevant quality indicators using administrative data
     One or more individuals with expertise in validating ICD-
9-CM codes using chart abstraction (to assess criterion validity), or 
assessing their accuracy in identifying individuals at risk for 
specific adverse outcomes (predictive validity)
     One or more individuals with experience using HCUP or 
similar data for the purpose of quality measurement
     One or more individuals with knowledge of ICD-9-CM and 
ICD-10-CM coding guidelines and practices

Submission Criteria

    To be considered for membership on either work group, please send 
the following information for each nominee:
    1. A brief nomination letter highlighting experience and knowledge 
in the use of the AHRQ QIs, including any experience with the National 
Quality Forum (NQF) Consensus Development Process, and the work group 
of interest. The nominee's profession and specialty, and the spectrum 
of his or her experience related to the QIs should be described. Please 
include full contact information of nominee: Name, title, organization, 
mailing address, telephone and fax numbers, and email address.
    2. Curriculum vita (with citations to any pertinent publications 
related to quality measure development or use).
    3. Description of any financial interest, recent conduct, or 
current or planned commercial, non-commercial, institutional, 
intellectual, public service, or other activities pertinent to the 
potential scope of the workgroup, which could be perceived as 
influencing the workgroup's process or recommendations. The objective 
is not to prevent nominees with potential conflicts of interest from 
serving on the work groups, but to obtain such information so as to 
best inform the selection of workgroup members, and to help minimize 
such conflicts.

Nominee Selection Criteria

    Selection of standing workgroup members will be based on the 
following criteria:
     Knowledge of and experience with health care quality 
measurement using administrative data, including issues of coding, 
specification, and risk adjustment
     Peer-reviewed publications relevant to developing, 
testing, or applying health care quality measures based on ICD-coded 
administrative data
     Knowledge of current quality measurement methodologies 
published in the literature
     Clinical expertise in the use and applications of the AHRQ 
QIs
     Knowledge of the NQF measure submission and maintenance 
process
    The selection process will be adapted to ensure that the standing 
work group includes a diverse group of clinicians and other individuals 
from a variety of disciplines and settings.

Time Commitment

    Time-limited and standing workgroup participants will hold a 
minimum two year term with an optional extension. The time-limited 
workgroup will meet by teleconference approximately three times for 
approximately two hours each in 2013, with a total time commitment of 
approximately 12 hours. The standing workgroup will meet quarterly by 
teleconference for approximately two hours with an annual time 
commitment of approximately 12-15 hours.

Workgroup Activities

    1. Workgroup members will receive pre-meeting material to review 
and to provide written feedback (1.0 hours).
    2. The workgroup meeting will be convened by phone or web 
conference. Initial feedback and revisions will be discussed during the 
live meetings along with other relevant topics (2.0 hours).
    3. Post meeting, members will review and comment on meeting minutes 
and associated documents along with any follow-up action items (1 
hour).
    4. There may be opportunities for workgroup members to 
collaboratively publish peer-reviewed journal articles or reports based 
on workgroup activities. However, this is not a mandatory requirement 
of workgroup members and is not included in the 12-15 hours estimated 
time commitment.

Background

    The AHRQ Quality Indicators (AHRQ QIs) are a unique set of measures 
of health care quality that make use of readily available hospital 
inpatient administrative data. The QIs have been used for various 
purposes. Some of these include tracking, hospital self-assessment, 
reporting of hospital-specific quality or pay for performance. The AHRQ 
QIs are provider- and area-level quality indicators and currently 
consist of four modules: The Prevention Quality Indicators (PQIs), the 
Inpatient Quality Indicators (IQIs), the Patient Safety Indicators 
(PSIs), and the Pediatric Quality Indicators (PQIs). In response to 
feedback from the AHRQ QI user community and guidance from NQF, AHRQ is 
committed to the ongoing improvement and refinement of the QIs in an 
accurate and transparent manner. For additional information about the 
AHRQ QIs, please visit the AHRQ Web site at http://www.qualityindicators.AHRQ.gov.

    Dated: January 16, 2013.
Carolyn M. Clancy,
Director, AHRQ.
[FR Doc. 2013-01348 Filed 1-25-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4160-90-M