In 2009, a publicly transparent evidence-informed process responded to the requirement of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) legislation to identify an initial core set of recommended children's health care quality measures for voluntary use by Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, which together cover almost 40 million of America's children and adolescents. Future efforts under CHIPRA will be used to improve and strengthen the initial core set, develop new measures as needed, and post improved core measure sets annually beginning in January 2013. This supplement aims to make available useful information about issues surrounding the initial core set and key concepts for moving forward toward improvement of children's health care quality measures, children's health care quality, and children's health outcomes. The set of articles in this supplement includes a detailed description of how the identification of a balanced, grounded, and parsimonious core set of children's health care quality measures was accomplished by means of an open, public process combined with an evidence-informed evaluation methodology. Additional articles note that Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) officials put a high priority on children's health care quality and desire better measures; that publicly insured children are more likely than privately insured children to experience severe, complex chronic conditions and experience poorer quality in some respects; and that some key CHIPRA topics did not yet have valid, feasible measures (eg, availability of services, duration of enrollment and coverage, most integrated health care settings, and some aspects of family experiences of care). Key stakeholders and observers provide commentary noting the unprecedented scope and nature of the CHIPRA legislation as well as noting areas in which the nation still needs to move to improve health care quality, including its measurement. These areas include greater engagement of families and health care providers in the quality measurement and improvement enterprises, collaboration across federal agencies, more emphasis on clinical effectiveness research to enhance the validity of children's health care services and quality measures, and a need to maintain an emphasis on children as the nation expands health care coverage and attention to quality for all populations. This overview also notes areas of future priorities for measure enhancement and development, including inpatient specialty, health outcomes, and a focus on inequity. We and others contributing to this supplement consider the identification of the initial core set to be a significant initial accomplishment under CHIPRA. With sufficient attention to making the measures feasible for use across Medicaid and CHIP programs, and with technical assistance, voluntary use should be facilitated. However, the initial core set is but one step on the road toward improved quality for children. The identification of future challenges and opportunities for measure enhancement will be helpful in setting and implementing a future pediatric quality research agenda.
Published by Elsevier Inc.