Better Reporting

Because information about the performance of our health care system is only useful if it is meaningful and accessible, the Consumer-Purchaser Alliance promotes public reporting about the quality and cost of care through publicly available, consumer-friendly websites.

Public reports about quality serve different purposes for different stakeholders:

    • They give providers the information they need about their own performance to identify areas that are ripe for quality improvement, evaluate the results of those efforts, and compare their performance to others.


    • They provide consumers with information about the quality and cost of care that doctors and hospitals provide to make informed choices about their own care.


  • They allow purchasers to determine the value they are getting for the money they spend.

Consumers and purchasers need to be able to see, understand, and use measures about the quality and cost of care to make real decisions about health care. Making publicly reported information useful for consumers and purchasers requires a thoughtful use of data display that makes it easy for consumers and purchasers to quickly view and digest the information.

The Consumer-Purchaser Alliance has been a strong voice for meaningful public reporting on public websites, including federal sites such as and Through comment letters and opinion pieces, we have urged these and other reporting venues to take their information a step further by reporting at the individual provider level, to truly make it useful.




June 25, 2013

Consumers and Purchasers Advocate for Rapid Implementation of Key Outcome and Patient Safety Measures for Hospital Quality and Reporting Programs

25 consumer, labor and employer organizations signed on to support CP Alliance’s comments to CMS on the FY 2014 proposed rule for the Inpatient Prospective Payment System. The rule includes a wide range of programs that are important to consumers, labor organizations and employers, particularly the new Healthcare-Acquired Conditions (HAC) Reduction Program. The comments conveyed strong support for CMS’ proposal for the future direction of a number of hospital quality and reporting programs. In addition, CP Alliance provided specific input on several critical outcome measures that should be added to these programs, urging CMS not to delay the opportunity to maximize accountability and transparency through payment and public reporting.


May 8, 2013

HHS Releases Data on Hospital Charges for 100 Common Medicare Inpatient Stays

On May 8, HHS posted data on the CMS website with information comparing hospitals’ charges for services that may be provided during the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays.  These “charges” refer to what hospitals determine they will charge for items and services provided to patients; they do not, however, reflect the discounts that most hospitals have negotiated with health plans.  These charges are most often experienced by patients without any other form of public or private insurance.  The Consumer-Purchaser Alliance issued a response to this data release. 



September 5, 2012

Explaining What Physician Compare Means to Consumers and Purchasers

The Consumer-Purchaser Alliance completed an issue brief on the topic of CMS' Physician Compare website, "How Physician Compare Could Help Consumers." This publication explains how Physician Compare changes the field of information available on physician performance, how the website will roll-out, and recommendations for improvement.



July 20, 2012

CP Alliance Responds to Request for Information on the Development of a Consumer Experience Evaluation Tool with Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and Exchanges

Well-informed design and implementation of standardized consumer experience tools will assist Americans in selecting providers and treatment. In response to CCIIO's request for information, CP Alliance submitted this letter with suggestions on the survey scope and timing.



April 12, 2012 

CP Alliance Urges Department of Health and Human Services to Set High Standards for Hospital Patient Safety Measures

With the annual rulemaking cycle for Medicare Hospital programs set to begin shortly, CP Alliance wrote this letter to HHS, urging it to set the highest possible standards for public reporting and accountability related to hospital patient safety measures. In this letter, CP Alliance provided examples of measures that are essential to support its efforts to provide meaningful information to consumers, purchasers, and providers.


June 20, 2011
Consumers and Purchasers Commend Proposed Changes to the Medicare Inpatient Hospital Reporting Program That Will Lead to Improvements in Patient Safety
On June 20, 2011, 30 consumer, labor, and employer organizations voiced their strong support for CMS' proposed changes to the Medicare Inpatient Quality Reporting Program (IQR), reflecting the agency's continued efforts to foster increased transparency and promote a market that recognizes and rewards quality rather than volume. The IQR, which is part of the broader Inpatient Prospective Payment System, is a predominant source of publicly reported quality information for consumers and purchasers, via the website Hospital Compare. The comments focus primarily on the importance of including the proposed hospital-acquired infection (HAI) measures related to surgical site infections, MRSA, c-diff, and ventilator-associated infections, as well as support for proposed clinical measures and the measure of spending per beneficiary. The proposed rule can be found here.


April 12, 2011
Consumers and Purchasers Support HHS' Commitment to Improving Patient Safety
On April 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a new patient safety initiative titled the Partnership for Patients, which is designed to reduce preventable hospital readmissions and healthcare-acquired conditions in order to make health care safer, more coordinated, and less costly overall. The goals of the program are to 1)reduce preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent; and 2) reduce all hospital readmissions by 20 percent. Achieving these goals would result in approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients, more than 60,000 lives saved, and 1.6 million fewer re-hospitalizations over the next three years. The Consumer-Purchaser Alliance (CP Alliance) issued a strong statement of support for the Partnership for Patients, and applauds HHS' commitment to improving patient safety and addressing both the significant need to prevent harm, and to improve care transitions for patients moving across different settings of care. More information on the initiative can be found here.


February 25, 2011
Comments to CMS on Transforming the Physician Quality Reporting System
Twenty-eight consumer, labor, and purchaser organizations advocated for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to make rapid and significant changes to the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). PQRS is a program that pays clinicians for submitting data on quality measures. In the future some of the quality measures will be used in Physician Compare and potentially for performance-based payment. Unfortunately, in its current form, PQRS fails to serve the public interest. In a letter to CMS, the organizations called for the program to require clinicians to report on more and better measures, focus on whether care made a difference for the patient, make data available to the private sector, and ensure that beneficiary needs and interests are primary.


November 30, 2010
Comments to CMS on Implementing the Physician Compare Website
Thirty-four consumer, labor, and purchaser organizations urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to put consumers first in its development of the Affordable Care Act mandated Physician Compare website. In a letter to the agency, they conveyed the importance of reporting performance information at the level of the individual physician, providing meaningful comparisons of physicians, and fostering the growth of all-payer databases to support both Physician Compare and private sector reporting initiatives.


June 4, 2010
Implementing Health Care Reform: Developing an Insurance Web Portal to Inform Coverage Decisions
The Affordable Care Act requires HHS to develop a "Web Portal" to assist individuals and small businesses identify affordable health insurance coverage in any state. CP Alliance submitted comments on HHS' interim final rule on the Web Portal, emphasizing the importance of designing this tool to help users factor in quality and value of care (of health plans and individual providers) into their decisions about what coverage best reflects their needs.


July, 2009
Shared Decision-Making: Using Patient-Centered Decision Aids to Improve Outcomes and Reduce Overuse
Resources & Background Material
Shared Decision-Making: Using Patient-Centered Decision Aids to Improve Outcomes and Reduce Overuse
Peter Lee, Co-Chair Consumer-Purchaser Alliance and National Policy Director of Pacific Business Group on Health
Consumer-Purchaser Alliance Shared Decision-making Forum
Lyn Paget, Director of Communications, Foundation for Informed Medical Decision-Making
Shared Decision-making at Dartmouth
Kate Clay, Program Director, Center for Shared Decision-making, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Shared Decision-Making Program
Betsy Barbeau, Senior Vice President, Shared Decision-Making, Health Dialog


October 29, 2007
NY Attorney General Incorporates CP Alliance Principles in Agreement on Physician Measurement
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement his office negotiated with Cigna health plan on its physician tiering program. What could have been a step backwards has turned into a positive advance for the physician transparency movement. This agreement bakes in the standards that were developed by the Consumer-Purchaser Alliance to foster transparency and accountability in health plan's physician performance reporting programs.
While developed for New York, this agreement sets the standards for other health plans across the country and is an important step forward in improving transparency for consumers. On behalf of the Consumer-Purchaser Alliance, Consumers Union spoke at the press conference in support of a transparent process that is based on sound national standards and methodology. Along with Attorney General Cuomo and Cigna, representatives from the AMA and the Medical Society for the State of New York also spoke at the press conference. More information is available in CP Alliance's press release.


September 24, 2007
CP Alliance Facilitates Meeting with New York Attorney General's Office on Tiered Physician Networks
On September 19, 2007, leading consumer, labor and purchaser representatives met with the New York Attorney General's office about our concerns that their recent actions could impede progress that has been made in physician performance transparency. Representatives from the following organizations were at the meeting: Center for Medical Consumers, Consumers Union, National Partnership for Women & Families, AARP, Xerox, SEIU/1199, and UNITE HERE. The Attorney General's office has articulated their concern for protecting consumers from false or misleading information. While we share the Attorney General's interest in protecting consumers from false or misleading information, we strongly support the value of programs that provide consumers with meaningful information about cost and quality. It is critical that we work to improve not shut down such programs. At the meeting, participants shared a draft of Proposed Criteria for Physician Performance Reporting that builds upon previous Disclosure guidelines that was well received.


September 12, 2007
CMS Releases New System of Records on Physician-Level Data
CMS has released a new system of records, Performance Measurement and Reporting System, under which data about individually identifiable physicians will be available for measurement at the individual physician level. CP Alliance and Pacific Business Group on Health submitted letters strongly supporting this new avenue, which take effect mid-October, for getting consumers information on the quality of their physicians while still maintaining patient privacy protections. View the Federal Register listing.


September 12, 2007
Consumers CHECKBOOK Sues HHS for Release of Medicare Physicians Claims Data
Consumers' CHECKBOOK/Center for the Study of Services won a lawsuit under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that will require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to release data on individual physicians' claims paid by Medicare in five states. CP Alliance sent a letter urging DHHS to not appeal. However, there is an almost 30-year old Florida court ruling that contradicts the current one so DHHS has appealed to a higher court for clarification.


July 12, 2007
Measuring Patients' Experiences with Care: Practical and Policy Issues
Resources & Background Material
Measuring Patients' Experiences with Care
Resources and Background Materials, July 2007
Importance of Measuring Patients' Experiences with Care
Peter Lee, Consumer-Purchaser Alliance
Measuring Patients' Experiences with Care: An Overview
Dale Shaller, Shaller Consulting/ National CAHPS Benchmarking Database
Regional Initiatives Using Patient Experience to Assess Physician Performance
Todd Osbeck, Priority Health
Ted vonGlahn, Pacific Business Group on Health
Melinda Karp, Massachusetts Health Quality Partners

Models for Widespread Adoption of Measuring Patients' Experiences with Physicians
Robert Krughoff and Paul Kallaur, Center for the Study of Services/Consumers' CHECKBOOK


February 28, 2007
Medicare's Physician Performance Reporting Agenda
Resources & Background Material
Medicare's Physician Performance Reporting Agenda
Background Information, February 2007
Medicare's Physician Performance Agenda: Understanding Next Steps and Shaping the Future Course
Peter Lee, Consumer-Purchaser Alliance
2007 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI)
Herb Kuhn and Tom Valuck, CMS
Building for the Future: Moving to Administrative Sources and Electronic Health Records
Marc Overhage, Regenstrief Institute David Bates, Partners Healthcare


November 1, 2005
CMS Physician Voluntary Reporting System
CP Alliance applauds the launch of CMS' Physician Voluntary Reporting Program and encourages physicians to report on the 36 measures of clinical quality.
CP Alliance press release
CMS Release


January 18, 2005
Development and Adoption of a National Health Information Network
Office of the National Coordinator Health Information Technology