Quality and Regulatory Affairs (QRA): Regulatory Advocacy at Work
ASA’s Department of Quality and Regulatory Affairs (QRA) works on a number of issues for physician anesthesiologists that affect, among other areas of interest, quality reporting, departmental administration and accreditation issues. QRA works closely with anesthesiologists to develop consensus policy positions and advocate ASA’s positions on federal regulation through comment letters, in-person meetings and medical coalitions. In short, QRA bridges the gap between quality reporting and improvement activities with federal advocacy.
Most ASA members will encounter QRA work products and education materials as they relate to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and specifically, the Quality Payment Program. But the role of QRA extends far beyond educating members on regulation. During the passage of MACRA, QRA worked with several ASA departments to make sure ASA’s interests were well represented, including making payment programs for physician anesthesiologists more fair, transparent and less burdensome for ASA members. A comprehensive, behind-the-scenes approach meant coordinating with ASA Advocacy on Capitol Hill, collaborating with Payment and Practice Management to understand the effects of certain policy positions and ensuring that the Anesthesia Quality Institute (AQI) could meet member needs in complying with the Quality Payment Program requirements.
Physician anesthesiologists, however, are not just impacted by decisions affecting their Medicare payments. Anesthesiologists routinely encounter local questions on departmental administration and compliance with federal Conditions of Participation. QRA often receives questions from members related to assistance with developing local policies and procedures. Although local decisions often need to be made, QRA staff can direct members to publicly available practice parameters and ASA committee work products like the Quality Management and Departmental Administration (QMDA) Regulatory Toolkit. It’s through these activities that QRA monitors accreditation requirements, including listening to member concerns via comments and questions, and works constructively toward reducing burdens and ensuring such requirements are evidence-based.
With thousands of pages of regulation and accreditation policies being proposed or amended each year, QRA reads, analyzes and acts on dozens of rules that impact ASA members each year. But the work does not stop at regulatory advocacy. Translating those actions into educational materials that members can use in their practice remains a key component of QRA’s activities. Our materials, produced with and for physician anesthesiologists, describe a range of issues that include, but not limited to, implementing quality measures and improvement activities in your practice, how to identify the right Electronic Health Record to meet regulatory requirements and resources to develop policies locally.
FAQRAs are created by ASA’s Department of Quality and Regulatory Affairs (QRA). These short articles address informative and relevant topics related to quality in anesthesia practice. For additional questions or information, please contact QRA at (202) 289-2222 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.