CMS’ Position on the Common Formats

On March 15, 2013, CMS issued a Survey and Certification letter supporting use of the Common Formats to improve adverse event tracking. They state:

Use of the AHRQ Common Formats by hospitals is not required under the QAPI CoP. We suggest, however, that a hospital that uses the Common Formats and is adept at the analysis that this structured system permits, will be in a better position to meet the CMS QAPI requirements.

This is response to the January 2012 OIG report “Hospital Incident Reporting Systems Do Not Capture Most Patient Harm.” The OIG stated that hospitals should strive to report all adverse events, or “all cause harm” – any event during the care process that results in harm to a patient, regardless of cause. The OIG report identified the Common Formats as providing a systematic method for collection of all types of adverse events and recommended that AHRQ and CMS promote more widespread use of the Formats.