When we think of Groundhog Day, we think of Bill Murray — and that’s not just because the older he gets the more he resembles Punxsutawney Phil. It is because Bill Murray starred in a 1993 movie called Groundhog Day where he is forced to re-live the same day over and over. As many have pointed out, including Bill Murray, the pandemic is making us all feel like we are living out the real-life version of that movie — a seemingly endless time-loop. For health policy people of a certain age, this is a familiar feeling… more about how health care policy keeps repeating itself in the One Thoughtful Paragraph.
Speaking of Groundhog’s Day, this time last year, Maverick’s Update focused on how CMS would be emphasizing the patient experience in its quality bonuses (star ratings, etc.) to plans and providers who serve Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. We noted at the time that experts were recommending updates to CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) — the quality measurement survey that CMS relies on to assess patients’ experience — including the need to modernize communications with patients using apps and other tech tools. So, have we made the patient experience better since a year ago? David Lansky doesn’t think so — and he is not your average policy expert. He is the author of at least 30 peer-reviewed papers on quality measurement and is more famously the long-time CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health (re-named Purchaser Business Group on Health (PBGH) to better represent the not-just-west-coast-focus of the 60+ large American employers like AAA, Costco, Disney, Microsoft and Walmart that provide health insurance for millions of their employees). Under Mr. Lansky’s leadership, PBGH became well-known for its many important contributions in moving the needle on value-based care. A week ago, Mr. Lansky drafted a rather scathing but very thoughtful assessment of our health care quality measurement system, saying that we are in an endless time-loop of trying and failing to get quality measures right. He concludes that ONC and CMS must implement a modern health data infrastructure if we are ever going to make headway on improving the quality of our system. We just hope that next February we are not reporting that Mr. Lansky said the same thing all over again.