CMS Measures Management System Blueprint

CMS Measures Management System Blueprint (Blueprint v16.0)

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, implementation, and maintenance. While required for CMS developers, the Blueprint is a helpful resource for anyone developing measures and especially those who want to submit measures for CMS’s consideration. The processes outlined in the document ensure measure developers meet the evaluation criteria CMS and the National Quality Forum (NQF) require.

For users new to measure development or the Blueprint, we recommend reviewing the FAQs below and Quality Measures: How They Are Developed, Used, & Maintained (“Quality Measures 101”) (PDF). If you are more familiar with the process, jump to the Blueprint QuickStart (PDF). The QuickStart provides checklists and reminders to keep measure developers on track as they work through the Measure Lifecyle.

In response to user feedback, in 2020, CMS streamlined the Blueprint by separating topic-specific supplemental materials and templates from the primary document. Download the suite of documents or individual documents using the links below.

View Supplemental Materials

Download All Supplemental Materials (ZIP)

View Templates

Download All Templates (ZIP) *published 1/14/2021


Q. Why should I use the Blueprint?

A. Measure developers and others involved with quality measurement should use the Blueprint to 

  • Understand CMS’s quality planning priorities
  • Learn about the basics of quality measures, including different types of measures, data sources, and other information
  • Understand the Measure Lifecycle
  • Gather ideas about how to engage stakeholders, including managing a Technical Expert Panel (TEP) or soliciting public comments
  • Learn best practices for measure development

Q. How do I use the Blueprint?

A. The Blueprint, and its corresponding supplemental materials, can be read from beginning to end to give a comprehensive overview of the measure lifecycle and measure development process or it can be used as reference when specific topics arise. 

CMS designed the Blueprint primarily as an electronic document with navigation bookmarks and internal and external hyperlinks. The Blueprint provides information about CMS priorities and the basics of each stage of the Measure Lifecycle and contains hyperlinks to supplemental materials with additional detailed information. The supplemental materials, in turn, refer back to specific sections of the Blueprint.

Any text formatted in blue represents an external hyperlink and has an external link icon. Internal links have dotted blue underlines. We provide links to resources throughout the Blueprint. Key terms have hover overs with their glossary entries.

Q. I’m a first-time user, where should I start?

A. New users of the Blueprint should start with Chapters 1, 2, and 3. These three chapters provide high-level overviews of CMS’s goals and priorities and the different stakeholders’ role in measure development. Those new to quality and quality measurement can also start by reading Quality Measures 101, which gives a high-level overview of the importance and uses of quality measurement in the context of CMS programs.

Q. What’s new in Blueprint V16.0?

A. CMS reorganized and reimagined Blueprint V16.0 to make the resource more accessible and streamlined to measure developers outside of CMS. The changes below highlight key structural, content, and graphics updates. View Appendix A for a more complete list of changes.  

Blueprint V16.0 structural changes include:

  • Removing all contract-specific language
  • Addressing stakeholder engagement throughout the document
  • Splitting measure evaluation content into different chapters, with most content appearing in the Measure Testing chapter
  • Each stage of the Measure Lifecycle has one chapter for a clear view of the measure lifecycle

Blueprint V16.0 content updates include:

  • An added section on Special Considerations for Medicaid-focused Measures
  • New tools and resources, such as the Clinical Quality Language (CQL) Style Guide  
  • Expanded content on roles in measure development, such as measured entities
  • Several new and updated graphics and tables, including the Stakeholder Engagement in the Measure Lifecycle graphic

Template changes include:

  • Public-facing templates streamlined to reduce need for scrolling 
  • Consolidation of templates and instructions for Business Case, Measure Justification Form, Measure Information Form, and Measure Evaluation Report 
  • Clarified instructions on what language CMS-contracted measures developers can change


Page Last Modified:
01/15/2021 07:03 AM