National Quality Measures for Child Mental Health Care

Background, Progress, and Next Steps

Work is ongoing to refine child mental health quality measures.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) called for identification, refinement, and development of child health care quality measures for voluntary use in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs. The Pediatric Quality Measures—Centers for Excellence is charged with developing new ones and refining the existing ones over the next several years.

These researchers describe two independent national initiatives for quality measure selection and the relation to child mental health care:

  • CHIPRA: Development of Initial Core Set of Measure—engaged stakeholders to review the evidence base for proposed measures to improve performance and reduce health care costs. Of 70 measures considered, 25 were recommended; 12 that pertained to child mental health, of which three were recommended.
  • National Quality Forum (NQF): Endorsement of Child Health Quality Measures—used a consensus development process to rate measures and vote on recommendations. Of 101 candidate NQF measures, 15 pertained to child mental health; five overlapped with CHIPRA’s, yielding six unique NQF measures related to child mental health.

The researchers found the scientific evidence supporting the child mental health measure of variable strength. Three quality measures are being refined further: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, and identifying eligible populations for mental health quality measurement.

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