New QIO Cycle Provides Opportunities for Home Health Agencies
April 14, 2014 10:17 AM
On August 1, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program will begin new improvement initiatives under its' 11th Statement of Work (SOW) for the next QIO contract cycle. Although, the 11th SOW has a strong focus on nursing homes and physician practices, it also includes opportunities for home health agencies.
Under one of the program aims: Healthy People, Healthy Communities: Improving the Health Status of Communities, the QIO program will be tasked with improving cardiac health and reducing cardiac healthcare disparities. Part of that task will include recruiting home health agencies to participate.
Recruitment will consist of non-profit and for-profit HHAs with a focus on those providers who manage patients with the greatest cardiovascular health needs and those most challenged to succeed in implementing evidence-based practices to improve cardiovascular health and support the Million Hearts® initiative.
In September 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Secretary launched the Million Hearts® initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by the year 2017. The initiative focuses on improving the ABCS: Aspirin therapy when appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking screening and cessation. The Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign has been supporting HHS’ Million Hearts®initiative by introducing cardiovascular best practices and other education resources to the home health community.
The QIO program will also provide technical assistance to HHAs as follows:
Utilize the Best Practice Intervention Packages (BPIPs) developed through the HHQI National Campaign to prevent heart attacks and strokes for beneficiaries receiving services from home health agencies.
Work with the HHA to sign up for the Cardiovascular Data Registry developed through the HHQI National Campaign in order to track progress related to the ABCS.
Include at least, but is not limited to, the following tasks:
Utilization of health literacy and educational tools for HHAs to provide beneficiary education including successful interventions and literature appropriate for all racial and ethnic beneficiaries served by the agency.
Ensuring that home health agencies are invited to and participate in the cardiac LAN activities, any forum and/or LISTSERV or other mechanism by which the home health agencies may collaborate with and share success stories, strategies, successful interventions, and activities with others to improve the ABCS for home health patients.
Provide more intensive one-on-one technical assistance for HHAs on processes and procedures that be beneficial, including training HHAs on the use of Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign successful interventions, tools, health information technology and interoperable key clinical information and other resources focused on the ABCS.
Provide technical assistance to HHAs experiencing staffing shortages and those with limited technological infrastructure unable to download educational resources and literature. This technical assistance shall consider the costs associated with downloading and printing resources for HHAs where this may be a financial burden.
In addition, another aim: Better Healthcare for Communities: Beneficiary-Centered, Reliable, Accessible, and Safe Care, intends for the QIO program to promote effective communication and coordination of care though the development of community coalitions that will be required to engage a number of community stakeholders including home health agencies.
To view the QIO’s 11th SOW, please click here.