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National Quality Forum endorses DQA measures

Recognition confers credibility

October 06, 2014

By Kelly Soderlund

DQA chairs
Measurement leaders: Dr. Jim Crall, left, chair-elect of the Dental Quality Alliance, and Dr. W. Ken Rich, DQA chair, are shown at a meeting earlier this year. Both dentists agree that the endorsement from the National Quality Forum takes the DQA to the next level in measuring quality.
The National Quality Forum, considered a gold standard for evaluating health care quality, has endorsed five measures put forth by the Dental Quality Alliance.

The National Quality Forum — a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care — is including the measures in its Health and Well Being project portfolio. The DQA-proposed measures include:

  • Prevention: Dental Sealants for 6-9-Year-Old Children at Elevated Caries Risk.
  • Prevention: Dental Sealants for 10-14-Year-Old Children at Elevated Caries Risk.
  • Utilization of Services: Dental Services.
  • Prevention: Topical Fluoride for Children at Elevated Caries Risk, Dental Services.
  • Oral Evaluation: Dental Services.
The DQA, formed in 2008 through a request from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is comprised of multiple stakeholders from across the oral health community who are committed to the development of consensus-based quality measures. Last year, the DQA approved its first set of performance measures in dentistry — Dental Caries in Children: Prevention and Disease Management.

“The NQF endorsement has been the culmination of all our work so far,” said Dr. W. Ken Rich, DQA chair and former ADA 6th District trustee. “It gives us a level of credibility in the measurement world that we haven’t had before. It was like we’ve now come of age, if you will. Now that we have this seal of approval, CMS has invited us to discuss our measures more seriously.”

Many health care plans and programs use the measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum to assess their own performance. Measures are also used to evaluate the quality of care within federal programs, such as Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces.

“In addition to their intended use in assessing and improving performance in programs or plans administering dental benefits, such as Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs or employee coverage, the new NQF-endorsed measures also highlight important aspects of care that practitioners can address through their own practice improvement activities,” said Dr. Jim Crall, DQA chair-elect.

The ADA House of Delegates has committed to supporting the DQA’s efforts and passed Resolution 89H-2013 last year affirming the promise. The resolution states that the “ADA promote the adoption of the comprehensive measures developed by the Dental Quality Alliance for assessing the quality of state Medicaid/CHIP programs, and be it further resolved that the ADA provide technical support to the constituent dental societies to assist them with this issue.”

The DQA will meet Oct. 24 at ADA Headquarters from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Members will discuss additional measures in development and hear from Dr. Eli Schwarz, chair of the department of Community Dentistry at the Oregon Health and Science University, who also serves on the Oregon Dental Quality Metrics Workgroup. The meeting is open to the public.

To learn more about the DQA, visit ADA.org, click on Science and Research, then Dental Quality Alliance, then DQA Measure Activities.