NLM VSAC Publishes Updated Electronic Clinical Quality Measure Value Sets for 2019 Reporting

On May 4, 2018, The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Value Set Authority Center (VSAC), in collaboration with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), published the eCQM annual update for the 2019 reporting period for Eligible Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), and the 2019 performance period for Eligible Professionals and Eligible Clinicians. CMS updates the specifications annually to align with current clinical guidelines and code systems so they remain relevant and actionable within the clinical care setting. These updated eCQMs are fully specified and are to be used to electronically report 2019 clinical quality measure data for CMS quality reporting programs. Measures will not be eligible for 2019 reporting unless and until they are proposed and finalized through notice-and-comment rulemaking for each applicable program.

Where to Find the 2019 eCQM Value Sets Requires a free Unified Medical Language System® Metathesaurus License.

VSAC Downloadable Resources: Prepackaged downloadable files (.xlsx and .xml) for the entire set of the updated 2019 eCQM Value Sets.

NEW! Direct Reference Codes: Single terminology codes, specified within the Data Criteria section of an eCQM HQMF file, that describe data elements. CMS includes single direct reference codes in addition to the specified value sets. These direct reference codes are not included within the value sets. Reference the eCQM HQMF files, hosted at CMS’s eCQI Resource Center, to understand how these single direct reference codes operate within each measure.

VSAC Web Page: Browse, filter and download specific eCQM value sets.

Application Programming Interface (API): Programmatically retrieve value sets.

Questions about accessing eCQM value sets? Contact NLM Customer Service.

CMS has updated eCQMs for potential inclusion in the following programs:

The Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program
The Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program (formerly known as the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program)
The Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program (formerly known as the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program)
Quality Payment Program: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs)
Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+)

Use of Clinical Quality Language (CQL) – eCQMs for 2019 reporting will be expressed using the new CQL standard for logic expression and will continue to use the Quality Data Model (QDM) as the conceptual model to express clinical concepts. Refer to the QDM v5.3 Annotated version and current version of the CQL standard to better understand how they work together to provide eCQMs that are human-readable and structured for electronic processing.

eCQM Reading Guide – This updated resource assists stakeholders in interpreting and understanding eCQMs. The guide provides information on eCQMs such as file naming conventions, understanding an eCQM human-readable rendition, QDM data criteria, value sets, and more.

The updated measure specifications are available on the eCQI Resource Center for Eligible Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals and Eligible Professionals and Eligible Clinicians under the 2019 Reporting/Performance Year.

Provide Feedback on the Updated Measures

To report questions and comments regarding the updated measures, visit the eCQM Issue Tracker. Note that an ONC Issue Tracking System account is required to ask a question or comment.

For More Information

To find out more about eCQMs, visit the eCQI Resource Center.

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