Federal Report Isolates Quality Innovation

A report produced this spring by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), offers significant national findings: for 2011 to 2014, state-based, Medicare-funded Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) are credited with helping providers avoid a potential 44,640 adverse drug events; with undertaking community-based approaches to care coordination in ways that saved nearly $1 billion; and supporting project-participating hospitals in reducing health care associated infections by 53%. Additionally, nursing homes that collaborated with QIOs minimized physical restraints (6,250 Medicare patients restraint-free) and prevented/healed pressure ulcers (3,374 prevented or healed during the three-year period) in ways that demonstrably improved the lives of seniors. The report includes a number of case studies describing ways QIOs have used innovation to target provider and beneficiary audiences. IPRO’s Every Diabetes Counts project experience is featured; in that effort, the IPRO team developed a formula for helping downstate African-American and Hispanic seniors with diabetes get the self-care classes they need to better manage their own chronic conditions-thereby contributing to a national 20% rate of improvement in blood sugar control among participating Medicare beneficiaries. Under an arrangement with local community colleges, students who underwent IPRO-sponsored bilingual outreach training and teaching internships were able to earn credits towards formal Community Health Worker certification. Eventually, IPRO helped certified workers secure interviews with physician practices, thereby bolstering the likelihood that the self-care teaching model will be sustained in the long run. A number of other approaches to quality improvement from QIOs around the country are included in the report. To view the 2014 QIO Program Progress Report online, go to http://qioprogram.org/progress-report.