Dissemination of health quality measures is a necessary ingredient of efforts to harness market-based forces, such as value-based purchasing by employers, to improve health care quality. This study examined reporting of Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures for depression to firms interested in improving depression care.
During surveys conducted between 2009 and 2011, a sample of 325 employers that were interested in improving depression treatment were asked whether their primary health plan reports HEDIS scores for depression to the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and if so, whether they knew the scores. Data about HEDIS reporting by the health plans were collected from the NCQA.
HEDIS depression scores were reported by the primary health plans of 154 (47%) employers, but only 7% of employers knew their plan’s HEDIS scores. Because larger employers were more likely to report knowing the scores, 53% of all employees worked for employers who reported knowing the scores. A number of structural, health benefit, and need characteristics predicted knowledge of HEDIS depression scores by employers.
The study demonstrated that motivated employers did not know their depression HEDIS scores even when their plan publicly reported them. Measures of health care quality are not reaching the buyers of insurance products; however, larger employers were more likely to know the HEDIS scores for their health plan, suggesting that value-based purchasing may have some ability to affect health care quality.