"The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." -- Sydney J. Harris

Depression Measure Set Changes Announced for Report Year 2016

Medical groups in Minnesota report clinical data for a wide variety of measures and to varied entities. This work informs critical improvements in quality and patient experience, but it can also be resource intensive and challenging.

With this awareness, MN Community Measurement recently evaluated the depression measure set, which has been identified by medical groups as particularly burdensome. We are pleased to announce that index criteria for the depression measure set will be technically simplified beginning in report year 2016. These changes will make the measure more actionable and less challenging for medical groups.

Current Re-index Methodology

The depression measure is longitudinal and measures a patient’s progress towards remission after an index event. Indexing occurs when:

  • Patient has a PHQ-9 score greater than nine AND a diagnosis of Major Depression or Dysthymia at the index visit. OR
  • A previously indexed patient, whose associated 13 month measurement period has ended, has a subsequent PHQ-9 score greater than nine.

A previously indexed patient does not require an accompanying diagnosis with an elevated PHQ-9 result in order to be indexed again.

As the measure has matured and the database of indexed patients has grown, a need to technically simplify the re-index event and confirm the new episode of major depression or dysthymia was identified.

Changes to the Re-Index Methodology

For 2016 report year (the next full submission cycle):

  • ALL index events will require an elevated PHQ-9 result AND an accompanying diagnosis of major depression or dysthymia (this includes an initial index and subsequent “re-index” events).
  • When diagnosis codes are available on a contact record, medical groups are to submit the code for the patient’s major depression or dysthymia and not suppress codes following any index event(s). This does not mean that diagnosis codes are required for all PHQ-9 results submitted; only that an index will not occur when a diagnosis is not present.

For additional information, read our Detailed Memo on Change to Depression Measure Set Index Criteria for Report Year 2016

The change will make internal reproduction of this measure set within medical groups more feasible, leading to a greater ability to use it to drive internal quality improvement activities and greater value to the community.

More details will be available when the 2016 Cycle A data submission guides are released later this year. In the meantime, please contact us at or 612-746-4522 if you have any questions.