The National Quality Forum (NQF) will perform a “robust trial” to assess the role and impact of sociodemographic factors on health care outcomes.

In a news release, the NQF announced that

Sociodemographic factors can be socioeconomic, e.g., income, education, and occupation, and demographic, e.g., race, ethnicity, and primary language. Growing evidence shows that sociodemographic factors may influence patient outcomes, which has implications for comparative performance measurement used in pay-for-performance programs.

Among the socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors the NQF will consider are income, education, and occupation, and demographic considerations such as race, ethnicity, and primary language.

NQF-logoWith the Affordable Care Act requiring Medicare to adjust payments based on outcomes such as hospital readmissions, value-based purchasing requirements, hospital-acquired conditions, and more, reviews of the preliminary results of such programs have led some to question whether hospitals that serve especially large numbers of low-income patients may be especially and unfairly harmed by such programs.

The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) has long expressed concern about the lack of risk adjustment in new Medicare payment programs and has endorsed legislation to require Medicare to address this problem.

Learn more about the NQF plan for a new study from this news release and find a link to further information about the planned study as well.