American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
03/16/99

National Committee for Quality Assurance
HEDIS 2000 Comments
2000 L Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Sir/Madam:

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA’s) Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) 2000. In today’s managed care environment, it’s important that individuals and entities have access to objective, standardized information for making their health care decisions.

HEDIS 2000 adds five new performance measures pertaining to heart disease, asthma, chlamydia and menopause counseling, which focus attention on illnesses or conditions that have effective, but underused treatments. In addition, the document phases in two new measures, Cholesterol Management After Acute Cardiovascular Events and Comprehensive Diabetes Care, from HEDIS 1999. AACC supports the addition of these and other laboratory indicators.

We are particularly pleased that HEDIS 2000 recognizes the value of laboratory testing. Laboratory tests play an important role in preventing, diagnosing and monitoring disease. Also, timely and accurately performed tests may improve health and reduce the short-term and long-term costs to the health plan and employer. Thus, we support your inclusion of chlamydia screening, cholesterol management and diabetes care indicators among your reporting set measures.

It’s important to note that most domains of care involve laboratory tests. We urge NCQA to incorporate the appropriate tests from each area as reporting measures. We believe the quantitative nature of laboratory test results, as well as their integral role in diagnosing and monitoring disease, make them invaluable tools for evaluating appropriate patient care and quality.

As a member of the Laboratory Health Care Partnership (LHP), AACC looks forward to working with you in developing a more comprehensive approach to utilizing laboratory-related indicators in HEDIS. We believe that our expertise will be very beneficial to NCQA and, ultimately, to clinical laboratories, employers and consumers.

By way of background, AACC is the principal association of professional laboratory scientists--including MDs, PhDs and medical technologists. AACC’s members develop and use chemical concepts, procedures, techniques and instrumentation in health-related investigations and work in hospitals, independent laboratories and the diagnostics industry nationwide. The AACC's objectives are to further the public interest and educational activities and to help maintain high professional standards.

If you have any questions or we may be of any assistance, please call me at (405) 271-3571 or Vince Stine, Director, Government Affairs, at (202) 835-8721.

Sincerely,

 

 

K. Michael Parker, PhD

President