CMS Announces Transition of eCQMs to CQL for CY2019 Reporting Periods

November 2017 ~

CMS, on October 31st, announced that electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) in CMS quality programs will be transitioned to use the Clinical Quality Language (CQL) standard (CQL Release 1, Standard for Trial Use (STU) 2) for logic expression. Additionally, CMS has issued revised technical release notes (TRNs) for the addendum to the electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) annual update specifications for 4th Quarter 2017 reporting and 2018 reporting periods.

eCQMs to CQL Transition

CQL is a Health Level Seven International standard that, according to CMS, aims to unify the expression of logic for eCQMs and Clinical Decision Support (CDS) by providing the ability to better express logic defining measure populations to improve the accuracy and clarity of eCQMs.

The transition to reporting CQL-based measures will begin with the calendar year (CY) 2019 reporting period for Eligible Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), and CY 2019 performance period for Eligible Professionals (EPs) and Eligible Clinicians.

CMS says it will publish CQL-based eCQMs in Spring 2018 for potential inclusion in the following programs:

  • Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program
  • Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program for Eligible Hospitals and CAHs
  • Medicaid EHR Incentive Program for EPs, Eligible Hospitals, and CAHs
  • Quality Payment Program: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models

The Measures expressed using CQL logic will continue to use the Quality Data Model (QDM) as the conceptual model to express clinical concepts contained within quality measures. Draft eCQM specifications using CQL will be available through November 13, 2017 on the CQM Issue Tracker via the following tickets.

Updated Technical Release Notes

The revised Technical Release Notes (TRNs) for the addendum to the eCQM annual update specifications are as follows:

  • Only the TRNs are updated; the value set content is not changed
  • Revisions made to TRNs for fourth quarter 2017 reporting include:
    • Eligible hospital and CAH measures: CMS71v6, CMS72v5, CMS104v5, and CMS108v5
  • Revisions made to TRNs for 2018 reporting include:
    • Eligible hospital and CAH measure: CMS108v6
    • Eligible clinician and EP measures: CMS90v7, CMS117v6, CMS136v7, CMS137v6, CMS146v6, CMS147v7, CMS156v6, CMS164v6, and CMS166v7
  • Revised TRN files were updated to reflect:
    • Inclusion of additional TRNs to accurately document all applicable coding changes for each measure
    • Removal of TRNs that were irrelevant to a specific measure
    • Numbers of codes indicated in the TRNs

For More Information refer to CMS’ eCQI Resource Center. Revised TRN files can also be found at the eCQI Resource Center on the Eligible Professional (EP)/Eligible Clinician and Eligible Hospital/Critical Access Hospital (CAH) webpages.


Source(s): eCQI Resource Center; Healthcare Informatics; MLN Connects; eCQI Resource Center;