Patricia Simino Boyce
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., June 7, 2017– The Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN), the IPRO-led Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for New York, South Carolina and the District of Columbia, is proud to announce that it is featured in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) newly released 2016 QIO Program Progress Report. AQIN is one of 14 QIN-QIOs that contributed to the Program’s success in improving the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries throughout the United States.
The annual QIO Program Progress Report highlights how QIN-QIOs nationwide are bringing together local providers, partners and other stakeholders to achieve bold goals in health care quality improvement. It includes findings from the third year of the Program’s five-year performance period and features recent success stories from around the country, data-driven results from QIN-QIOs and Beneficiary and Family-Centered Care (BFCC)-QIOs, and top takeaways from the 2016 CMS Quality Conference.
“2016 was an outstanding year for both QIN-QIOs and BFCC-QIOs. QIN-QIOs were especially successful in achieving impactful results in the areas of care coordination, diabetes care and nursing home care,” said Dennis Wagner, Director of the Quality Improvement and Innovation Group (QIIG) within CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. “QIN-QIOs’ work contributed to more than 24,300 hospital readmissions avoided, more than 27,800 beneficiaries educated in diabetes self-management, and a 21 percent reduction in inappropriate antipsychotic medication usage at nursing homes throughout the United States. Together, QIN-QIOs and BFCC-QIOs helped improve the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of care provided to our nation’s Medicare beneficiaries,” he concluded.
The Progress Report highlights AQIN’s partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), which created a coalition in early 2015 of nearly 40 organizations in the state, including the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, the South Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, the South Carolina Pharmacy Association, and the Medical University of South Carolina. The coalition shares best practices, tools and resources in an effort to increase immunizations, and to encourage providers to document and report immunization rates.
The coalition’s efforts yielded dramatic results during the 2015 flu season, and early numbers for the 2016 season are expected to be equally impactful. From August 2014 to March 2015, 29 out of the 40 counties in South Carolina saw an uptick in influenza immunization rates, and from January to December 2015, all counties achieved higher pneumonia immunization rates.
In the fall of 2016, coalition members launched the next phase of their strategy, a partnership with Walgreens to host immunization clinics in rural areas. Through collaboration with Walgreens and other local stakeholders, the coalition has been successfully hosting three community events per quarter, with topics ranging from immunization awareness to assisted living options. They also made preparations for 2017 events, including a State Immunization Resolution passed by the General Assembly in April, and an “Immunize SC” week for August 14-21.
The coalition views culture-specific messaging as critically important moving forward, as it strives to continue the upward trend in immunization rates. “Family is very important in the South, especially among rural populations,” said Melinda Postal, Quality Specialist at AQIN-South Carolina. “We’re finding that when we’re talking to seniors about getting vaccinated, it really hits home to say, ‘Do it for yourself, but also do it for your family and grandkids.'”
The QIO Program Progress Report is available online at http://progressreport.qioprogram.org/. A printable PDF version is also available for download from that site.
As a QIN-QIO, AQIN catalyzes change through a data-driven approach to improving healthcare quality. We work with providers and stakeholders at the community level to share knowledge, spread best practices and improve care integration. As part of the national QIO program, we are committed to a patient-centered approach to improving health, improving health care and reducing costs for all Americans.
Please visit the AQIN website at www.atlanticquality.org.
This material was prepared by the Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN), the Medicare Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization for New York State, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. 11SOW-AQIN3-Tsks B-F-17-01