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Checklists Facilitate eCQM Specifications Update

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  • May 21, 2019
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Checklists Facilitate eCQM Specifications Update

The electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) specifications for the 2020 reporting/performance period are now available. Eligible reporting entities should, “Work with your coding department and health information technology (IT) vendor to ensure your systems have been updated to the latest code versions,” during pre-check, advises the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Do the eCQM specifications change every year?

CMS releases annual updates to eCQM specifications to align with current clinical guidelines and code systems. The updated eCQM specifications are available on the Electronic Clinical Quality Improvement (eCQI) Resource Center for the 2020 reporting period for Eligible Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals and the 2020 performance period for Eligible Professionals and Eligible Clinicians.

What are eCQMs?

eCQMs are used by healthcare entities to electronically report 2020 clinical quality measure data for CMS quality reporting programs, including the Quality Payment Program, the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, the Medicare and Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Programs, and Comprehensive Primary Care Plus. CMS requires eligible healthcare entities to use the most current version of the eCQMs for quality reporting programs.

How do I update my system with the latest eCQM value sets?

CMS provides a Pre-checklist and Checklist of the necessary technical steps health IT developers, implementers, and healthcare organizations must take to update their systems and processes with the eCQM Annual Update.

  1. Sign up for a Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) account
  2. Sign up for a JIRA account
  3. Sign up for eCQM page change notifications on the eCQI Resource Center
  4. Review the code versions used in the Annual Update
    1. Work with your coding department and health IT vendor to ensure your systems have been updated to the lasts code versions.
  5. Review the standard, tools, and documents used in the Annual Update.


  1. Access the appropriate eCQM Annual Update
  2. Secure detailed information about each measure.
  3. Download value sets.
  4. Prepare to implement the updates by understanding changes to the eCQM.
  5. Prepare to report the updated eCQMs.
  6. Reach out for help.

Where can I find the updated eCQM specifications and materials?

The updated eCQM specifications and other materials are available on the eCQI Resource Center.

Where can I find the 2020 eCQM value sets and direct reference codes?

The 2020 reporting/performance period eCQM value sets and the direct reference codes are available through the National Library of Medicine’s Value Set Authority Center (Unified Medical Language System account required).

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Renee Dustman, BS, AAPC MACRA Proficient, is managing editor - content & editorial at AAPC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Communications - Journalism. Renee has more than 30 years' experience in journalistic reporting, print production, graphic design, and content management. Follow her on Twitter @dustman_aapc.

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