Medicare's Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS): quality measurement and beneficiary attribution

Bryan Dowd, Chia hsuan Li, Tami Swenson, Robert Coulam, Jesse Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To explore two issues that are relevant to inclusion of PQRS reporting in a value-based payment system: (1) what are the characteristics of PQRS reports and the providers who file them; and (2) could PQRS provide active attribution information to supplement existing attribution algorithms?

DESIGN AND METHODS: Using data from five states for the years 2008 (the first full year of the program) and 2009, we examined the number and type of providers who reported PQRS measures and the types of measures that were reported. We then compared the PQRS reporting provider to the provider who supplied the plurality of the beneficiary's non-hospital evaluation and management (NH-E&M) visits.

RESULTS: Although PQRS-reporting providers provide only 17 percent of the beneficiary's NH-E&M visits on average in 2009, the provider who provided the plurality of visits supplied only 50 percent of such visits, on average.

IMPLICATIONS: PQRS reporting alone cannot solve the attribution problem that is inherent in traditional fee-for-service Medicare, but as PQRS participation increases, it could help improve both attribution and information regarding the quality of health care services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)02.a04
JournalMedicare & medicaid research review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Medicare
  • PQRS
  • attribution
  • payment
  • physician
  • value


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