My reading this week has presented two somewhat conflicting stories.  One story concerns a nationwide quality collaboration that “has saved an estimated 24,820 lives and reduced health care spending by nearly $4.5 billion in the first three years” of its enactment.  In this collaborative model, 157 hospitals in 31 states share data and “define a common framework” using consistent measures between them.   So far, so good.

The other story comes out of a Government Accountability Office report issued on January 13.  The GAO found that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has not yet prioritized the development of quality measures, and, HHS’s National Quality Forum, a non-profit, “consensus-based group of health experts hired by HHS,” has not followed deadlines, which may result in missing other crucial deadlines in the Accountable Care Act.  This may result in delays in enacting programs under health care reform to control health care costs.

What is the difference?  Perhaps, human nature being what it is, timetables need to be followed, with repercussions if they are not.

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