Quality Improvement Organization (QIO)

By law, the mission of the QIO Program is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and quality of services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. Based on this statutory charge, and CMS' Program experience, CMS identifies the core functions of the QIO Program as:

  • Improving quality of care for beneficiaries;
  • Protecting the integrity of the Medicare Trust Fund by ensuring that Medicare pays only for services and goods that are reasonable and necessary and that are provided in the most appropriate setting; and
  • Protecting beneficiaries by expeditiously addressing individual complaints, such as beneficiary complaints; provider-based notice appeals; violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA); and other related responsibilities as articulated in QIO-related law.

QIOs are private, mostly not-for-profit organizations, which are staffed by professionals, mostly doctors and other health care professionals, who are trained to review medical care and help beneficiaries with complaints about the quality of care and to implement improvements in the quality of care available throughout the spectrum of care.

QIO contracts are three years in length, with each three-year cycle referenced as an ordinal 'SOW.'

Last Updated Jan 16, 2017