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J Manag Care Pharm. 2005 Apr;11(3 Suppl):S9-11.

NCQA behavioral health measurement efforts.

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  • 1National Committee for Quality Assurance, 2000 L Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036, USA.



To review the role of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in ensuring the quality of care in the managed care setting and identify novel strategies to improve performance rates for Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures, particularly in the area of depression.


NCQA, by regulating HEDIS measures, sets the standards by which managed care organizations evaluate their performance in providing care for their enrollees. The medication management measure for depression evaluates practitioner contacts and acute and continuation phase treatments for persons treated with an antidepressant. Despite increased detection and management of patients with depression, there is still room for improvement in HEDIS performance rates for this chronic disease.


NCQA hopes to improve collaboration among managed care organizations and managed behavioral health organizations In addition, NCQA regularly reevaluates the HEDIS measures using input from panels of experts. Incentive p r o grams for providers who deliver quality care may also help to improve HEDIS performance rates for depression. Research is under way to evaluate the feasibility and re t u rn on investment for pay-for-performance programs in depression.

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