For Immediate Release
Lisa Hines, PharmD
Senior Director, Measure Operations & Analytics
Pharmacy Quality Alliance
PQA Announces Opioid Core Measure Set and
Expanded Efforts to Address Initial Opioid Prescribing
Alexandria, VA (April 9, 2018) -  The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) is providing important and timely tools to address the opioid epidemic in its launch of the PQA Opioid Core Measure Set . The set of four PQA-endorsed measures is designed to improve the safety of opioid prescribing:
  • Use of Opioids at High Dosage in Persons without Cancer (OHD)*
  • Use of Opioids from Multiple Providers in Persons without Cancer (OMP)*
  • Use of Opioids at High Dosage and from Multiple Providers in Persons without Cancer (OHDMP)*
  • Concurrent Use of Opioids and Benzodiazepines (COB)**
    *National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed
    **Submitted to NQF for endorsement consideration
"PQA's Opioid Core Measure Set provides a meaningful suite of performance measures to address one of the most urgent public health threats facing the nation today. The goal of PQA's opioid measures is to improve the safe and appropriate use of opioids to ensure the best possible patient outcomes," stated Laura Cranston, PQA's CEO.

The PQA Opioid Core Measure Set continues to gain broad implementation in national and state-based programs and receive strong interest from and dialogue with state and city departments of health, Medicaid agencies, physician provider networks, and other organizations aiming to use these measures to identify potentially unsafe or inappropriate prescribing.

PQA is pleased to report on key areas of uptake for these measures, which includes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reporting of all four PQA opioid measures within the Medicare Patient Safety reports, adding the measure that assesses high dosage and multiple providers to the 2019 Part D display page, and planning to add the measure that assesses concurrent use of opioids and benzodiazepines to the display page starting in 2021. Furthermore, PQA's opioid high-dosage, a nd concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use measures are included in the 2018 Medicaid Adult Core Set.

A new PQA-convened taskforce will be working to expedite development of three new measures focused on addressing initial opioid prescribing to address early opioid use that can contribute to future opioid use disorder and overdose. These three measure concepts align with the CDC Guidelines that recommend avoiding the following when starting opioid therapy:
  • Long-acting/extended release opioids
  • ≥50 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per day
  • >7 days' supply
PQA plans to complete development of the initial opioid prescribing measure concepts and add them to the Opioid Core Measure Set if endorsed by PQA's membership by the end of this year,  having them available in 2019 as a tool for healthcare providers to improve the appropriate use of opioids.
About PQA:
The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) is a non-profit organization committed to
optimizing health by advancing the quality of medication use. PQA, a recognized leader in quality measure development, is dedicated to improving the safe and appropriate use of medications, researching the impact of quality measurement, and providing education on quality-based healthcare. Established in 2006, PQA is a transparent, consensus-based, multi-stakeholder organization representing over 225 member organizations including healthcare payers, health plans, community pharmacies, physician providers, life sciences organizations, state and federal government agencies, academic institutions, standard setting/accreditation organizations, health information technology (HIT) partners, and other stakeholders interested in improving the quality of the medication-use system. For more information about the Pharmacy Quality Alliance, please visit or contact us at (703) 347-7963.
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