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Putting Measurement to Work: Improving the Quality of Health Care Delivered to Adults

Setting Improvement Goals


Michael Bailit, President, Bailit Health Purchasing, LLC.

Dr. Stephen B. Clauser, Director, Office of Beneficiary and Program Research and Demonstrations, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

According to Mr. Bailit and Dr. Clauser, performance measurement allows States to set improvement goals for direct service providers, health plans, administrative contractors, and even State programs. Two kinds of goals exist:

  1. Qualitative goals require completion of quality improvement activities or the implementation of new programs or services.
  2. Quantitative goals measure performance against a baseline rate or specified target.

It is important when setting goals to establish a common understanding on a method for determining if the goal has been achieved.

Many of the issues affecting the quality of care for adults are persistent and do not lend themselves to easy fixes. States should consider setting interim measures that look for modest improvements or structure and process rather than outcomes.

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