Trade Group Hails Latest QIO Impact Data

The Washington DC-based American Health Quality Association (AHQA) is hailing new findings from the federal government demonstrating that Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs)—working in close partnership with providers, federal, state and private partners, and others in local communities—have prevented more than 95,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries. From October 2010 to March 2013, data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) indicate that hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries declined by 13.22 percent in QIO communities, compared to a “secular trend” reduction of 12.55 percent. Similarly, hospital admissions declined further in QIO communities—8.39 percent vs. 8.12 percent nationally—pointing to the efforts of QIOs as an important lever in improving healthcare quality nationwide. By improving care transitions (when patients move from one care setting to another, such as from a hospital to their home), AHQA notes that reduced hospitalizations, including in QIO communities, resulted in a cost savings of nearly $1 billion. While progress has been made nationally to improve care transitions and reduce the number of patients who return to the hospital within 30 days, CMS’s findings indicate that readmissions have been reduced further in communities where QIOs play an active role. “QIOs work in close partnership with physicians, nurses and other members of the interdisciplinary team across settings, forming a network that helps patients remain healthy long after they leave the hospital,” said Adrienne Mims, MD, Vice President, Chief Medical Officer of Atlanta-based Alliant GMCF, the QIO for Georgia, and president of AHQA. “Because QIOs are part of the local community, we’re able to constantly innovate and adapt, ensuring our efforts meet the unique needs of local seniors and their families. Successfully reducing readmissions takes the entire community.” Keeping seniors out of the hospital is just one of the QIOs’ measurable improvements in the quality of care provided to the nation’s nearly 50 million Medicare beneficiaries. In intensive care units and other hospital units in more than 800 facilities nationwide, QIOs provide assistance to help reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). From February 2011 to August 2013, QIOs’ efforts resulted in a 53 percent relative improvement rate in reduced central line-associated blood stream infections. For more information on QIO impact, visit the AHQA website at www.ahqa.org.