High Priority MeasureYes
SpecialtyAllergy/Immunology Cardiology Family Medicine Geriatrics Internal Medicine Ophthalmology Pulmonology Rheumatology Skilled Nursing Facility
Percentage of patients 65 years of age and older who were ordered at least two of the same high-risk medications.
This measure is to be submitted a minimum of once per performance period for patients seen during the performance period. There is no diagnosis associated with this measure. This measure may be submitted by Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinicians who perform the quality actions described in the measure based on the services provided and the measure-specific denominator coding.
NOTE: Patient encounters for this measure conducted via telehealth (e.g., encounters coded with GQ, GT, 95, or POS 02 modifiers) are allowable.
Measure Submission Type:
Measure data may be submitted by individual MIPS eligible clinicians, groups, or third party intermediaries. The listed denominator criteria are used to identify the intended patient population. The numerator options included in this specification are used to submit the quality actions as allowed by the measure. The quality-data codes listed do not need to be submitted by MIPS eligible clinicians, groups, or third party intermediaries that utilize this modality for submissions; however, these codes may be submitted for those third party intermediaries that utilize Medicare Part B claims data. For more information regarding Application Programming Interface (API), please refer to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website.
Patients 65 years and older who had a visit during the measurement period
Patients aged ≥ 65 years on date of encounter
Patient encounter during performance period (CPT or HCPCS): 92002, 92004, 92012, 92014, 99202, 99203, 99204, 99205,99212, 99213, 99214, 99215, 99304, 99305, 99306, 99307, 99308, 99309, 99310, 99315, 99316, 99318, 99324, 99325, 99326, 99327, 99328, 99334, 99335, 99336, 99337, 99341, 99342, 99343, 99344, 99345, 99347, 99348, 99349, 99350, 99385*, 99386*, 99387*, 99395*, 99396*, 99397*, G0438, G0439
Patients who use hospice services any time during the measurement period: G9741
Patients with at least two orders for the same high-risk medication on different days during the measurement period
The intent of the numerator is to assess if the patient has either been prescribed at least two of the same high-risk medication in Table 1, received two or more prescriptions on different days, where the sum of days supply exceeds 90 days, for medications in the same medication class in Table 2.The intent of the measure is to assess if the submitting provider ordered the high-risk medication(s). If the patient had a high-risk medication previously prescribed by another provider, they would not be counted towards the numerator unless the submitting provider also ordered a high-risk medication for them.
Cumulative Medication Duration – an individual’s total number of medication days over a specific period; the period counts multiple prescriptions with gaps in between, but does not count the gaps during which a medication was not dispensed.
To determine the cumulative medication duration, determine first the number of the Medication Days for each prescription in the period: the number of doses divided by the dose frequency per day. Then add the Medication Days for each prescription without counting any days between the prescriptions.
For example, there is an original prescription for 30 days with 2 refills for thirty days each. After a gap of 3 months, the medication was prescribed again for 60 days with 1 refill for 60 days. The cumulative medication duration is (30 x 3) + (60 x 2) = 210 days over the 10 month period.
Table 1 - High-Risk Medications at any dose or duration
Anticholinergics, first-generation antihistamines
Anticholinergics, anti-Parkinson agents
Atropine (exclude ophthalmic)
Dipyridamole, oral short-acting (does not apply to the combination with aspirin)
Cardiovascular, alpha agonists, central
Nifedipine, immediate release
Central nervous system, antidepressants
Central nervous system, barbiturates
Central nervous system, vasodilators
Central nervous system, other
Endocrine system, estrogens with or without progestins;
Endocrine system, sulfonylureas, long- duration
Endocrine system, other
Pain medications, skeletal muscle relaxants
Pain medications, other
Ketorolac, includes parenteral
*The registry version of the measure specifications only indicates the classes of drugs that are considered high-risk and do not include the specific coding of RxNorm. However, this measure aligns with the eCQM measure (CMS 156) and providers may review the RxNorm codes in the applicable eCQM value sets for submission.
Table 2 - High-Risk Medications With Days Supply Criteria
Days Supply Criteria
NUMERATOR NOTE: Some high-risk medications are not included in this specific measure but should be avoided above a specified average daily dose. These medications are listed in Table 3. To calculate an average daily dose multiply the quantity of pills ordered by the dose of each pill and divide by the days supply. For example, a prescription for a 30-days supply of digoxin containing 15 pills, 0.250 mg each pill, has an average daily dose of 0.125 mg.
Table 3 - DAE-C: High-Risk Medications With Average Daily Dose Criteria
Average Daily Dose Criteria
Alpha agonists, central
Tertiary TCAs (as single agent or as part of combination products)
INVERSE MEASURE - A lower calculated performance rate for this measure indicates better clinical care or control. The “Performance Not Met” numerator option for this measure is the representation of the better clinical quality or control. Submitting that numerator option will produce a performance rate that trends closer to 0%, as quality increases. For inverse measures a rate of 100% means all of the denominator eligible patients did not receive the appropriate care or were not in proper control.
A high-risk medication is identified by either of the following:
• A prescription for medications classified as high risk at any dose and for any duration listed in Table1
• Prescriptions for medications classified as high risk at any dose with greater than a 90 day cumulative medication duration listed in Table2
Performance Met: At least two orders for the same high-risk medication (G9367)
Performance Not Met: At least two orders for the same high-risk medications not ordered (G9368)
Certain medications (MacKinnon & Hepler, 2003) are associated with increased risk of harm from drug side-effects and drug toxicity and pose a concern for patient safety. There is clinical consensus that these drugs pose increased risks in older adults (Kaufman, Brodin, & Sarafian, 2005Potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults has been connected to significantly longer hospital stay lengths and increased hospitalization costs (Hagstrom et al., 2015) as well as increased risk of death (Lau et al. 2004).
Older adults receiving inappropriate medications are more likely to report poorer health status at follow-up, compared to those who receive appropriate medications (Lau et al. 2004). A study of the prevalence of potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults found that 40 percent of individuals 65 and older filled at least one prescription for a potentially inappropriate medication and 13 percent filled two or more (Fick et al. 2008). While some adverse drug events are unavoidable, studies estimate that between 30 and 80 percent of adverse drug events in older adults are preventable (MacKinnon and Hepler 2003).
Reducing the number of inappropriate prescriptions can lead to improved patient safety and significant cost savings. Conservative estimates of extra costs due to potentially inappropriate medications in older adults average $7.2 billion a year (Fu et al. 2007). Medication use by older adults will likely increase further as the U.S. population ages, new drugs are developed, and new therapeutic and preventive uses for medications are discovered (Rothberg et al. 2008). The annual direct costs of preventable adverse drug events (ADEs) in the Medicare population have been estimated to exceed $800 million (IOM, 2007). By the year 2030, nearly one in five U.S. residents is expected to be aged 65 years or older; this age group is projected to more than double in number from 38.7 million in 2008 to more than 88.5 million in 2050. Likewise, the population aged 85 years or older is expected to increase almost four-fold, from 5.4 million to 19 million between 2008 and 2050. As the older adult population continues to grow, the number of older adults who present with multiple medical conditions for which several medications are prescribed will continue to increase, resulting in polypharmacy concerns (Gray and Gardner 2009).
Clinical Recommendation Statements
The measure is based on recommendations from the American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults (2019). The criteria were developed through key clinical expert consensus processes by Beers in 1997, Zahn in 2001 and an updated process by Fick in 2003, 2012, 2015 and 2019. The Beers Criteria identifies lists of drugs that are potentially inappropriate for all older adults and drugs that are potentially inappropriate in older adults based on various high-risk factors such as dosage, days’ supply and underlying diseases or conditions.
NCQA's Geriatric Measurement Advisory Panel recommended a subset of drugs that should be used with caution in older adults for inclusion in the proposed measure based upon the recommendations in the Beers Criteria.