The Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) and the National Medical Association (NMA) have joined the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) in submitting comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in support of a new quality measure that would promote improve care for African Americans with heart failure (HF). NMQF has developed this much needed measure – ready for widespread use in CY 2018 – that responds to the substantial disparities in African Americans’ receipt of evidence-based heart failure care. Incorporating this long-overdue measure into the final rule would address an immediate opportunity to close care gaps and reduce preventable mortality in a priority population with heavily documented disparities.
American College of Physicians and National Minority Quality Forum Partner to Improve Quality of Care for African Americans with Heart Failure
The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) and the American College of Physicians (ACP) today announced that the CMS-approved ACP Genesis Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) now includes a performance measure for the treatment of heart failure in African Americans beginning with the 2017 Reporting Period for CMS' new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).
At a recent meeting of the Cardiovascular Standing Committee of the National Quality Forum (NQF), the public comment docket was filled with an unprecedented outpouring of key stakeholder support for the National Minority Quality Forum’s (NMQF) eMeasure #2764, a heart failure performance measure that seeks to highlight access to standard of care treatment for African American heart failure (HF) patients. As the NMQF’s proposed performance measure continues on its path through a comprehensive, multi-year endorsement process, it has generated an unusually high level of public interest and support as part of a process that is rarely as engaged by the public. In part, this interest owes to a growing demand on the part of stakeholders for more population-based measures, like #2764, that take aim at persistent health disparities, as well as the singular and unambiguous need for better treatment for this particular patient cohort and the clear opportunity to save lives that are today needlessly lost.
Business consultant, coach, and granddaughter of heart failure (HF) survivor Erica Noelle Duncan calls for the wider adoption of the appropriate standard of care for African Americans with heart failure in a recent article in The Huffington Post. She explains how Bidil – a combination drug which has been proven to be tremendously effective for the African-American population – was successful in treating her grandmother and has since motivated her to promote the widespread use of the medication. Duncan writes, "Just as heart disease seems to disproportionately affect black individuals, doctors have an obligation to use whatever treatment has been scientifically proven to be most effective for black individuals."
An article published in MedPage Today discusses the need for Congress to better address minority health issues, especially for African Americans. On Friday, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) called out House Republicans for not attending an Energy and Commerce Committee forum on minority health and health disparities. "There are no Republicans in this room," Rep. G.K. Butterfield said. "That isn't because they weren't invited; they were invited, but they did not show up. That speaks volumes." The article goes on to describe several ways that Congress can reduce health disparities for African Americans including: finding more ways to encourage diversity in the healthcare workforce; reducing the number of health professional shortage areas, and including more African Americans in clinical trials.
The National Quality Forum (NQF) recently made a key decision to move forward with the recommendation for trial-use approval of measure #2764 – a Fixed-Dose Combination of Hydralazine and Isosorbide Dinitrate Therapy for Self-Identified Black or African American Patients with Heart Failure (HF) and LVEF <40% on ACEI or ARB and Beta-Blocker Therapy. With approval of this measure for trial-use, the NQF has demonstrated its openness to recognizing the current standard of care for African Americans with HF, and the impact that this therapy can have on thousands of patients across the country
The National Minority Quality Forum’s (NMQF) proposed trial eMeasure (#2764), “Fixed-dose Combination of Hydralazine and Isosorbide Dinitrate Therapy for Self-identified Black or African American Patients with Heart Failure and LVEF <40% on ACEI or ARB and Beta-blocker Therapy," received more than 40 comments during the National Quality Forum’s public and member comment period for their Cardiovascular Measures 2015 project that closed on November 23, 2015 (see NMQF's response here). The overwhelming majority of the comments voiced strong support for the September 9 decision of the NQF Cardiovascular Measures Standing Committee to approve NMQF’s trial measure, and to enable Measure #2764 to advance to the next stage of voting and to complete required testing of validity and reliability.
Doctors, patients, and healthcare stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments by November 23 as part of the crucial second round of comments for a proposed new quality measure that seeks to address the underutilization of FDA-approved treatment for African Americans with heart failure. Comments must be submitted now in favor of NQF’s recent report in support of moving ahead with further testing. Currently, thousands of African Americans with heart disease die needlessly every year due to the Nation’s failure to treat them to the acknowledged standard of care. If adopted, the proposed quality measure can help save many lives.
Founder and President, National Minority Quality Forum
In recent months, the debate on race and policing in this country has ignited passions and raised important questions. But while headlines have highlighted instances of excessive force by police and the discriminatory treatment of African Americans, the conversation hasn't yet made the logical leap to a discussion around unequal access to care.
Doctors, patients, and healthcare stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments by August 12 in support of a new proposed quality measure submission from the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) that seeks to address the gross underutilization of FDA-approved treatment for African Americans with heart failure. Thousands of African Americans with heart disease die needlessly every year due to the Nation’s failure to treat them to the acknowledged standard of care. If adopted, the proposed quality measure can help save countless lives.