CMS Measures Management System Blueprint

CMS Measures Management System Blueprint (Blueprint v15.0)

Link to Blueprint (PDF)

Download Template Files from Blueprint Section 4 (ZIP)


CMS created the “Blueprint for the CMS Measures Management System,” commonly referred to as the Blueprint, to document the core set of business processes and decision-making criteria for measure development. The Blueprint is a helpful resource for those interested in developing measures or in understanding the measure development process.


  • To understand CMS’ quality planning priorities
  • To understand the measure lifecycle
  • To learn about testing measures and key considerations in the measure lifecycle
  • To gather ideas about how to engage stakeholders
  • To learn how to form and manage a Technical Expert Panel (TEP) to support measure development
  • To learn about the different types of measures
  • To learn about how to get public input for measure development


Anyone can use the Blueprint. While CMS measure developers are required to use it, it is also a great resource for non-CMS contracted measure developers who want to submit measures for consideration by CMS. The processes outlined in the Blueprint help ensure measures meet the evaluation criteria used by CMS and the National Quality Forum (NQF) including: the importance to measure and report on the topic, scientific acceptability of measure properties, feasibility, usability and use, and harmonization.


The Blueprint is designed primarily as an electronic document with navigation bookmarks and internal and external hyperlinks. Any text formatted in blue represents an internal or external hyperlink. Resources and required forms (as appropriate) are referenced throughout the Blueprint and these and key terms are linked to their glossary entries or the appendices.

The Blueprint is divided into six sections:

Section 1 - Introduction— presents an overview of the guiding principles of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) quality measure development and background information on the Measures Management System (MMS).

Section 2 - The Measure Lifecycle—describes the procedural steps necessary to develop and maintain a measure.

Section 3 - In-Depth Topics—provides detailed information on important measure management topics. The topics range from CMS priorities planning to the details of risk adjustment.

Section 4 - Forms and Templates —contains all the forms and templates referenced in the Blueprint.

Section 5 - Glossary and Acronyms—contains a glossary and a list of acronyms used in the Blueprint.

Section 6 - Appendices—contains all the appendices referenced in the Blueprint.

New users of the Blueprint are encouraged to start with Sections 1 and 2. These two sections provide high-level overviews of CMS’s role in measure development and the different phases of the measure lifecycle.

For additional information, you can download the CMS MMS Webinar Blueprint 101 - Introduction to CMS Measures Management (ZIP) presentation found on the CMS MMS Resource page.


The Blueprint Version 15.0, updated September 2019, includes these significant changes:

  • Section 2 has a new chapter, Chapter 7, Tools and Resources in Measure Development
  • Several chapters in Section 3 have been updated and/or reorganized:
    • Chapters 1 has been updated to align with current policy
    • Chapter 2 has been renamed to Measure Prioritization and Planning, updated to align with current policy, and tables have been adding providing the legislation initiating the different CMS quality programs
    • Chapter 3 has been renamed to Roles in Measure Development and added information about the Quality Measures Technical Forum and eCQM Governance Group
    • Chapter 6, Introduction to electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs) added information about the Collaborative Measure Development Workspace, eCQM Data Element Repository, and eCQM Annual Update
    • Chapter 9, Information Gathering added a section about tools and resources used in information gathering
    • Chapter 16, Measure Technical Specification has been updated to include definitions for data sources and updating the measure examples
    • Chapter 19, Risk Adjustment has extensive revisions
  • Section 4, Forms and Templates, most of the forms and templates have been updated
  • Section 6, Appendices, have been updated for currency and a new appendix on Registries and includes information on Qualified Clinical Data Registries and Qualified Registries.

Please see the Blueprint v15.0: Appendix A – Summary of Changes to Blueprint for an overview of all changes by sections and chapters.

Page Last Modified:
12/05/2019 09:04 PM