Background and purpose: The coming years could be a watershed period for children and health care as the nation implements the most significant federal health care legislation in 50 years: the Accountable Care Act (ACA). A year earlier, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) set up a framework and road map for the eventual universal adoption of health information technology in its Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) provisions, and the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) legislation articulated a new and compelling vision for quality measurement in child health services. Each of these landmark advances in federal health policy contains relevant provisions for the measurement and improvement of the performance of the health system. Less clear is the extent to which the child specific framework articulated in CHIPRA will be preserved and built upon. Here, we set forth recommendations for ensuring that measurement and reporting efforts under CHIPRA, ARRA, and ACA are aligned for children.
Policy themes and recommendations: Our findings around problems and recommendations are grouped into 2 broad areas: those that deal with helping states report and use current measures, and those that deal with expanding the current measures. Recommendations include 5 aimed at focusing efforts on measure reporting and use: 1) help states build a measurement infrastructure; 2) provide specific technical assistance and support to states on how to collect, report, and use measures; 3) establish a national office for quality monitoring; 4) make available nationally data from states; and 5) ensure specific focus on child health in HITECH initiatives. Recommendations also include 3 aimed at extending what is being measured: 1) continue emphasis on insurance stability; 2) ensure that disparities can be measured and monitored; and 3) build measures that focus on system accountability and outcomes.
Conclusions: National health care reform provides the opportunity to extend coverage and dramatically restructure systems of care. It will be important to ensure that focus on health care quality for children be maintained and that the advances made under CHIPRA reinforce and are not diluted or overtaken by broader reform efforts.
Copyright © 2011 Academic Pediatric Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.