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August 19, 1992

The Health Care Quality Improvement InitiativeA New Approach to Quality Assurance in Medicare

Author Affiliations

From the Health Care Financing Administration, Baltimore, Md. Dr Wilensky is now with the Office of Policy Development, The White House, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1992;268(7):900-903. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490070082047

THIS ARTICLE describes how the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) is reshaping its approach to improving care for Medicare beneficiaries. The goal of the Health Care Quality Improvement Initiative (HCQII) is to move from dealing with individual clinical errors to helping providers to improve the mainstream of care. Such a reform implies profound changes.

First, the processes and criteria for review change: instead of having clinicians use essentially intuitive local criteria to find problems in individual cases, peer review organizations (PROs) will use explicit, more nationally uniform criteria to

For editorial comment see p 917. examine patterns of care and patterns of outcomes. Second, the immediate objective changes: PROs will focus primarily on persistent differences between the observed and the achievable in both care and outcomes and less on occasional, unusual deficiencies in care. Third, the ultimate method changes: PROs will help providers identify problems and their solutions by monitoring