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In the News

AHRQ Grant Funds Group Health, ITHS, Qualis Health, OHSU Partnership
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has funded the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at Group Health Research Institute to lead a three-year project aimed at improving heart health among patients in primary care practices and the quality of care delivered by those practices. One of seven regional partnerships throughout the nation, Healthy Hearts Northwest will help small and mid-sized practices in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Qualis Health, the Oregon Rural Practice Research Network at the Oregon Health & Science University, and the Institute of Translational Health Sciences are partnering with the MacColl Center in this initiative.

Read the press release to learn more.

NRPC Readmissions Summit Welcomes Qualis Health's Selena Bolotin
On May 28, Selena Bolotin, LICSW, Director, Washington Care Transitions and Patient Safety, will facilitate a panel discussion at the National Readmissions Prevention Collaborative Readmissions Summit in Seattle. The panel, "Care Coordination: Becoming a Preferred Provider in a Narrow Network," will discuss prioritizing home-based care and discharge to home.

Visit the National Readmission Prevention Collaborative's website for more information.

Qualis Health 2014 Report to the Community Published
Qualis Health has published our 2014 Report to the Community, an update on our work to improve the experience of healthcare, improve the health of populations and reduce per the capita costs of healthcare. In it, you'll find highlights of our services, clients and results.

Read the 2014 Report to the Community.

Qualis Health Staff to Lead WHCA Convention Educational Sessions
This year's Washington Health Care Association Annual Convention & Expo will include educational sessions led by Qualis Health staff on Thursday, May 21.

  • Aimee Ford, MS, RN, and Jamie Moran, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CIC, will present "The Role of Leadership in Implementing an Evidence-Based Infection Control Program to Improve Quality, Efficiency and Effectiveness in Skilled Nursing"
  • Sharon Eloranta, MD; Aimee Ford MS, RN; and Jeff West, RN, MPH; will present "Who's in Pain in Your Building and Why? A Look at Disparities in Pain Management"
  • Selena Bolotin, LICSW, will present "Skilled Nursing 30-Day Rehospitalizations: Do You Know Where Your Discharged Patient Is?"

Qualis Health is proud to be a sponsor of the 2015 WHCA Annual Convention & Expo.

Visit the WHCA website for more information.

Diabetes in Washington State Webinar Series Session Two Coming May 20
On May 20, Qualis Health will present the second webinar in a three-part series on the results of the 2014 Washington State Diabetes Epidemic & Action Report. "Session 2: Community Solutions" is for clinicians who work with people with diabetes and will focus on community-based actions that can promote improvement in health outcomes related to diabetes and pre-diabetes. Wendy Bart of the YMCA of Greater Seattle and Eudora Carter of the Center for MultiCultural Health will speak.

Learn more about the webinar and register online.

Qualis Health Co-Hosts Ventilator-Associated Events Webinar
On May 19, Qualis Health, in collaboration with other Quality Improvement Network – Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs), will present a webinar called "Ventilator-Associated Events: A Patient Safety Opportunity." Led by Harvard Medical School's Dr. Michael Klompas, this session is intended for hospital leadership, nurses, physicians, quality improvement staff, infection preventionists and other healthcare-associated infection project team members.

Learn more and register online.

AUCH Annual Conference Speakers to Include Regina Neal
On May 15, Qualis Health's Director of Practice Development and Client Relations Regina Neal will speak about patient-centered interactions at the Association for Utah Community Health's (AUCH) Annual Primary Care Conference in Salt Lake City. AUCH is Utah’s Primary Care Association.

Visit the AUCH website for more information.

Selena Bolotin to Present Two SSWLHC Webinars
On May 13 and 27, Selena Bolotin, LICSW, Qualis Health's Director of Washington Care Transitions & Patient Safety, will present "Readmission Risk Assessment—And Then What" during two (repeated) Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care (SSWLHC) national webinars. These webinars are part of the SSWLHS's continuing education program and are available to both members and non-members.

Visit the SSWLHC website for more information.

National QIO Program Progress Report Includes Qualis Health's Work
A new web-based Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program Progress Report is now available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for the Medicare Quality Improvement Program. The report includes a story about Qualis Health's Volunteer Health Advocate pilot project in Washington State, and another about Qualis Health's partnership with the Washington State Hospital Engagement Network.

Go to the 2014 QIO Program Progress Report.

View the video about Qualis Health's Volunteer Advocate pilot project.

Read about Qualis Health's partnership with the Washington State Hospital Engagement Network.

The American Health Quality Association (AHQA) recently released a statement congratulating CMS on the release of the report.

Read AHQA's statement.

"Integrating Medical and Dental Care" at OPCA Symposium
On April 23, Qualis Health PCMH Program Director Kathryn Phillips will present "Integrating Medical and Dental Care: Movement Towards a Patient-Centered Health Home" as part of a panel presentation at the Oregon Primary Care Association Quadruple Aim Symposium in Portland. Kathryn will share strategies primary care practices can use to improve patient and family oral health by including oral health preventive care as a component of routine medical care.

Visit the conference website for more information.

Idaho Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Conference This Week
On April 16 and 17, the 2015 Idaho Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Conference will take place in Boise. This year's conference features speeches from Joe Flower and Joan Edicott, as well as presentations by Idaho healthcare professionals and Qualis Health staff. Additionally, Qualis Health will present its annual Awards of Excellence in Healthcare Quality, recognizing Idaho organizations' achievements in improving healthcare quality and outcomes.

Learn more about the Idaho Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Conference.

New Videos Added to Qualis Health's YouTube Channel
Two videos have recently been added to Qualis Health's YouTube channel.

  • In Qualis Health: Your Trusted Health IT Advisor, colleagues from the Seattle Indian Health Board talk about the value of an external consulting partner like WIREC/Qualis Health.
  • Taking the Thickened Liquid Challenge features Qualis Health Quality Improvement Consultant Aimee Ford as she participates in an online challenge to raise awareness about a quality-of-life concern in nursing homes by drinking honey-thick liquids for 12 hours.

Carol Higgins to Present at HCAW Annual Conference
Qualis Health Quality Improvement Consultant Carol Higgins, CPHQ, OTR (Retired), Certified INTERACT Educator, will make two presentations at the Home Care Association of Washington's Annual Conference on April 16. Carol will speak on "Joining the INTERACT Program Team for Home Health" in the morning and "HHQI Cardiovascular Data Registry Playbook" in the afternoon.

Visit the Home Care Association of Washington website for more information.

Sugarman to Conduct AAOS Educational Session
On March 26, Qualis Health President and CEO Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, will conduct an educational session, "Strategies to Enhance Value and Improve Patient Experience Through Patient-Centered Care," at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2015 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, NV. He will be joined by Thomas S. Boniface, MD; Thomas J. Grogan, MD; and James B. Rickert, MD.

Visit the conference website to learn more.

Washington State SSWLHC Conference Welcomes Selena Bolotin
On March 24, Selena Bolotin, Qualis Health's Director of Washington Care Transitions and Patient Safety, will be presenting "Readmission Risk Assessment . . . and Then What" to the Washington State chapter of the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care at their Educational Conference and Resource Fair in Seattle.

To find out more, visit the Washington State SSWLHC website.

Kathryn Phillips to Speak at 2015 National Medical Home Summit
Qualis Health PCMH Director Kathryn Phillips will present "Key Factors in Successful Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care" at the National Medical Home Summit on Tuesday, March 24 in Philadelphia. Her presentation is part of the Mini Summit on Lessons from PCMH on Implementation.

Visit the National Medical Home Summit website for more information.

Qualis Health to Consult on New University of Kansas Rural PCMH Work
A team of researchers from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare Center for Children & Families has been approved for a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to support work focused on rural patient and provider perspectives on the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. The project includes collaboration with community partners from Kansas and Missouri, including REACH Healthcare Foundation, Thrive Allen County, Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri and Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. Qualis Health will provide consultation.

Learn more about the project.

Patient Portal Implementation Webinar Coming January 27
Qualis Health's Technical Operations Manager and Senior Consultant John Hartgraves will present a webinar called "Implementing Your Patient Portal in a HITECH World" on Tuesday, January 27. In it, he'll provide information how to successfully implement a patient portal in your clinic using a four-point strategy that includes patient engagement, clinical workflow, technology and planning.

Get more information.

Jonathan Sugarman to Present at STFM Conference on Practice Improvement
Qualis Health President and CEO Jonathan Sugarman is presenting "Taking Stock—Quality Measurement in Primary Care" at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine's Conference on Practice Improvement. This annual event provides a venue for learning from those on the front line of improving primary care practice.

Visit the conference website.

QualityNet Speakers Include Qualis Health Staff
This year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' annual healthcare quality conference, QualityNet, will include four speakers from Qualis Health. Selena Bolotin, Director of Care Transitions and Patient Safety, will be part of a panel on innovative community engagement approaches. Medical Director Sharon Eloranta, Health IT Consultant Kelley Carnwath and Decision Support Consultant Meghan Donohue will present "Racial Disparities in Health: Learning from and Acting on Data."

Visit the QualityNet website.

New Video: Neighbors Helping Neighbors Navigate the Health System
None of us are at our best when ill or under stress—yet those are the very conditions that patients often experience when they interact with healthcare professionals. How can we be sure that patients fully understand the implications of their diagnosis, their discharge instructions or other important news related to their health?

One solution is to bring along another person to take notes, ask questions and listen carefully to the patient. That's where Volunteer Health Advocates can play an important role.

Learn how we collaborated to design the project, develop the curriculum and provide training to the first set of Volunteer Health Advocates. Watch "Neighbors Helping Neighbors Navigate the Health System" on YouTube.

Qualis Health Gold Sponsor of NAMD Fall Conference
From November 3 through November 5, the National Association of Medicaid Directors Fall Conference is taking place in Arlington, Virginia. Qualis Health is a Gold Sponsor and will be exhibiting at the event. You can find us at booth #105 in the exhibit hall.

Go to the NAMD Fall Conference website.

Qualis Health Exhibits at MGMA14
We're looking forward to exhibiting at the Medical Group Management Association 2014 Annual Conference. This year's event is taking place October 26–29 in Las Vegas and the theme is "Always Forward." We'll be in booth #148; please stop by and say hi.

Director Bolotin to Speak at Elder Friendly Futures Conference
On October 8, Qualis Health Director of Washington Care Transitions and Patient Safety Selena Bolotin will present "Volunteer Health Advocates Support Neighbors for Better Health Outcomes" at the University of Washington's Building Elder Friendly Futures Locally and Globally conference. Qualis Health is a Silver Sponsor of the conference.

Visit the conference website for additional information.

Qualis Health at IHA Conference
The Idaho Hospital Association's (IHA's) 81st Annual Convention is October 4 through 7 in Sun Valley. Qualis Health President and CEO Jonathan Sugarman will be presenting "Implications of the 'High Value of Healthcare' Movement for Idaho Hospitals. A View From Qualis Health." Other Qualis Health staff, including Zach Hodges, Martha Jaworski, Kelly McGrath, Christine Packer, Linda Rowe and Julie Sylvester, will also be speaking at the conference. Qualis Health is a Silver Sponsor of the IHA convention and will be exhibiting there as well.

Visit the Idaho Hospital Association's website for more information.

Peggy Evans Published in Journal of General Internal Medicine
Qualis Health's Peggy Evans, Director of WIREC and CMS Health IT, is co-author of "Provider Perceptions of the Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs: A Survey of Eligible Professionals Who Have and Have Not Attested to Meaningful Use." Published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the paper examines the perspectives and experiences of a random sample of Idaho and Washington healthcare professionals eligible for financial incentives for demonstrating meaningful use of their EHRs.

View the abstract of "Provider Perceptions of the Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs: A Survey of Eligible Professionals Who Have and Have Not Attested to Meaningful Use."

Qualis Health Launches YouTube Channel
In June, Qualis Health launched its new YouTube channel and has been updating it regularly since then. Over a dozen videos give guidance to healthcare providers on a variety of subjects including hand hygiene, fall reduction and care transitions.

Visit our YouTube channel.

Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care Publishes Results of a Qualis Health Co-Designed Model to Transform Primary Care Education and Practice
The Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care has published an article in Academic Medicine that outlines the accomplishments of a joint project with Qualis Health and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The two-year learning collaborative that Qualis Health and IHI designed for Harvard led to successful implementation of improvements that affect more than 450 resident physicians and more than 260,000 patients in the greater Boston area.

Read an abstract of this article and what the work entailed.

Read the press release from Harvard.

New CMS Data Show QIOs Improved Care for Nation's Medicare Beneficiaries
New data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show that the nation's Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs), including Qualis Health, have prevented more than 95,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries, working in close partnership with providers, federal, state and private partners and others in local communities.

Read more from the American Health Quality Association.

Governor Inslee Appoints Jonathan Sugarman to Health Performance Measures Coordinating Committee
Qualis Health President and CEO Jonathan Sugarman was recently appointed to the Health Performance Measures Coordinating Committee by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. The committee is charged with recommending standard statewide measures of health performance to inform public and private purchasers, as well as proposing benchmarks to track costs and improvements in health outcomes in Washington State.

New White Paper Details Learnings from REACH Healthcare Foundation Medical Home Initiative
A new white paper prepared by Bonni Brownlee, Qualis Health's Director of Quality Improvement and Compliance Consulting Services, was released this month. Commissioned by the REACH Healthcare Foundation, The Journey Towards the Patient-Centered Medical Home—The Kansas City Experience is intended to disseminate the learnings from the Foundation's Medical Home Initiative to the broader health community as primary care practice is redesigned to adopt the patient-centered medical home model of care. It examines the journeys of nine safety net primary care clinics in Kansas City as they worked with a technical assistance team from Qualis Health to integrate components of patient-centered care into their daily work.

Learn more about our work on the REACH Medical Home Initiative.

Qualis Health Launches Online Quality Reporting Resource Center for Hospitals
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare is now aligning hospital and provider reimbursement with performance as part of the national effort to control costs and ensure quality for patients. The Medicare pay-for-performance effort is based on hospital data reporting programs that focus on clinical outcomes and patient experience of care during hospital stays.

Qualis Health's Quality Reporting Resource Center provides the support that hospitals need, including a seven-step Roadmap to Effective Quality Data Reporting, to strengthen their use of quality data to participate effectively in Medicare's data reporting and pay-for-performance programs. The Roadmap will also help hospitals systematically monitor and improve results for their patients and communities.

Visit the Quality Reporting Resource Center at www.QualisHealthMedicare.org/QualityReporting to learn more.

Qualis Health PCMH Article Published
Health Services Research published a paper authored by members of Qualis Health's Safety Net Medical Home Initiative project team in its December issue. Authored by Donna Daniel, former Practice Transformation & Measurement Director, Jonathan Sugarman, President & CEO, Kathryn Phillips, Patient-Centered Medical Home Program Director, and colleagues from the Group Health Research Institute, "Assessing Progress toward Becoming a Patient-Centered Medical Home: An Assessment Tool for Practice Transformation" describes the properties of the Patient-Centered Medical Home Assessment (PCMH-A) as a tool to stimulate and monitor progress among primary care practices interested in transforming to patient-centered medical homes.

The piece is part of the "Best of The 2013 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting" section of the journal, which includes the top presenters at the leading annual conference of health services researchers.

Thought Leaders Forum Examines Racial Disparities in Hospital Readmissions
In an effort to reduce racial disparities in Washington State hospital readmissions, Qualis Health recently convened a thought leaders forum.

Representatives from a variety of organizations gathered to brainstorm disparity causes and solutions. They also identified actions to create positive change, additional information needed and voices missing from the conversation. The forum was so successful that the group plans to meet again soon.

View state disparities reports for Medicare beneficiaries.

Compliance Today Interviews Jan Cunningham
The Health Care Compliance Association's magazine, Compliance Today, spoke with Qualis Health's Director of Risk Management & Compliance Officer, Jan Cunningham, along with Timothy Ferriss, Compliance Specialist - Privacy, of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

In the magazine's December issue, Jan shares her tactics for using Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week to engage staff and raise awareness of the importance of compliance and ethics within Qualis Health. Read the interview.

Final WIREC Newsletter: Change is the Word
In this last addition of WIREC Insider, Executive Director Peggy Evans discusses how WIREC and Qualis Health will move forward now that much of the federal regional extension center grant subsidies are coming to an end.

ALTSA-Qualis Health Partnership Success Nationally Recognized
The National Coordinating Center for the Integrating Care for Populations & Communities Aim has released a video outlining some of the achievements arising from collaboration between the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA) and Qualis Health.

ALTSA, a division of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, and Qualis Health, Medicare's Quality Improvement Organization in Idaho and Washington, aligned efforts to improve care coordination in Washington through community-based interventions.

Watch Qualis Health & ALTSA Partner to Improve Transitions of Care.

Video Shares Success Story from Qualis Health PCMH Initiative
High Plains Working for Health tells the story of High Plains Community Health Center, a federally qualified health center that has transformed lives through improved quality of care and pathways out of poverty in rural Southeastern Colorado.

High Plains is one of 17 Colorado community health centers that participated in the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, a five-year project designed to help primary care safety net sites become high-performing patient-centered medical homes. The Initiative was led by The Commonwealth Fund, Qualis Health and the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at the Group Health Research Institute.

Reap an Abundance of Health IT News in October WIREC Insider
In this month's WIREC Insider, read about Keith Davis, MD, the Idaho WIREC enrollee named 2014 Family Physician of the Year by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Get hot tips from the ONC-endorsed Meaningful Use Burning Issues Workgroup. Learn about Clinical Decision Support and the Five Rights. And of course, get the latest EHR and meaningful use news from across the nation.

Medical Home Digest Series Concludes with Lessons Learned and a Look Ahead
In the final issue of the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative's Medical Home Digest, participants reflect on their PCMH journeys over the past five years. They also provide a view to what lies down the road. Judith Schaefer, MPH, of the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation, discusses how these SNMHI participants benefitted from learning communities. Additionally, the Digest summarizes recent updates to the SNMHI's comprehensive library of tools and resources. Visit the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative website.

Security Risk Analysis a WIREC Hot Topic
August's WIREC Insider focuses on the HIPAA security risk analysis required of all covered entities. Find out how Steele Memorial Medical Center developed and used their "textbook perfect" HIPAA security risk analysis plan, and learn how WIREC can help you with yours.

Video Featuring Qualis Health's Community Care Transitions Project
Medicare recently posted a video about the Qualis Health-involved Kitsap County Cross Continuum Care Transitions Project (KC4TP). It features interviews with key players in the success of the project speaking frankly about what wasn't working—and what they did about it. Watch the video here.

Explore the WIREC Insider July Edition
WIREC Insider
profiles an Idaho clinic, Pocatello Family Medicine (PFM), which was recently featured as a "Health IT Success Story" on HealthIT.gov. Highlights of the story include PFM’s electronic health record (EHR) implementation strategy; the quality improvement effects of EHR; and lessons learned from their EHR transformation. In this issue, you will also find information about WIREC Packaged Service #4; WIREC services coming to a close in 2014 with options for continued Health IT support; and Health IT news.

National Care Transitions Team Visits Qualis Health to Observe Best Practice
This week, Qualis Health hosts a team from Medicare's national coordinating center for improving care transitions, the Colorado Foundation for Medical Care. They recognized Qualis Health's work with communities across Washington and Idaho as best practice, and are visiting local Washington State communities to observe our successful strategies in action. As a Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, Qualis Health has exceeded Medicare's recruitment goals for engaging healthcare providers, stakeholders and consumers to improve care transitions and reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions. Moreover, the interventions we've put in place are already showing improvement in community admissions and readmission rates. Visit our Medicare website.

2013 Alaska Behavioral Health Provider Education Conference
The Alaska 2013 Annual Behavioral Health Provider Education Conference was held May 21–23 in Anchorage. Sponsored by Qualis Health and the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, this year’s conference attracted participants from all over the country. With the theme of A Culture of Community: Caring for Alaskans, the program focused on three main subjects: "Drawing on Alaska’s Behavioral Health Resources," "Enhancing Individualized Transition and Services" and "Serving Alaska's Diverse Cultures." Learn more about the conference.

Jeff Hummel Featured in Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine
As part of a year-long series exploring how hospitals and health systems are addressing the care continuum in their strategic and operational plans, Hospitals and Health Networks spoke with Qualis Health's Medical Director for Health Informatics, Jeff Hummel, MD. In the May edition, Dr. Hummel offers his thoughts on the specialized requirements of patient-centered medical homes for their electronic health records. Read "Medical Home: Health IT's Next Evolution."

Explore the WIREC Insider April Edition
WIREC Insider profiles one of its Packaged Services for practice health IT needs, the Security Risk Analysis Assessment, which helps identify organizational risks for patient data breach and ways to reduce those risks. You will also find the third installment of the HIPAA Omnibus Rule series, and health IT news.

Qualis Health Now Processes Alaska Outpatient Imaging Authorization Requests
As of April 15, Qualis Health now processes outpatient imaging authorization requests for the State of Alaska, Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Health Care Services. This service, along with other care management work we perform in collaboration with Alaska Medicaid - Health Care Services, will help the state of Alaska improve the quality and effectiveness of its healthcare. Visit the Alaska Medicaid - Health Care Services page for more information.

March SNMHI Webinar: "Using a Patient-Centered Care Plan and Teamwork to Support Self-Management" Now Online
This webinar focused on self-management strategies from a team-based care perspective and how the EHR can optimize this. Larry Mauksch, MEd, LMHC, discussed using the care plan for documentation across team members and follow-up. He emphasized the role of each team member and team workflow in this process. Berdi Safford, MD, presented on agenda confirmation, creating a feasible plan, anticipating barriers and problem solving. Download the presentation slides or view the webinar recording.

WIREC Webinar: Clinical Decision Support
The 33rd session of the Getting Paid to Use Your EHR series will occur on April 30, 2013. Dr. Jeffrey Wolff-Gee presents on the challenges his organization, Swedish Medical Group, faced in adhering to the "five rights" of clinical decision support as well what they learned. Registration and more information.

Connect with Qualis Health in April
Qualis Health will be exhibiting at several conferences this month. Find us at booth 15 during the 14th Annual International Summit on Improving Patient Care in the Office Practice & the Community, in Scottsdale, AZ, April 7–9; in the exhibit hall of the Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians 65th Annual Meeting and Scientific Assembly in Omaha, NE, April 11–12; or in the exhibit hall of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama (MASA) 2013 Annual Session, in Mobile, AL, April 11–14.

Connect with Qualis Health at Institute for Healthcare Improvement's 14th Annual Summit
Qualis Health will be exhibiting at Booth 15 during the 14th Annual International Summit on Improving Patient Care in the Office Practice & the Community, which takes place April 7–9, 2013, in Scottsdale, AZ. Donna Daniel, PhD, Practice Transformation and Measurement Director, and Michael Garrett, MS, CCM, Vice President of Business Development, will also attend the Summit. Visit the summit website for more information.

Provider Profile: Dr. Shakti K. Matta of Pediatrics for You
In the March issue of the WIREC Insider, Dr. Matta answers our questions about his practice, Pediatrics for You, in Kennewick, WA, including responses about his experiences implementing EHRs and attesting for Meaningful Use. Also featured is part two of four in the HIPAA Omnibus Rule Series, important WIREC webinar information and a list of the most recent providers to reach Meaningful Use.

Stop and Watch Tool a Success in Tacoma
Avamere Skilled Nursing of Tacoma, a participant in Qualis Health's Communities for Safer Transitions of Care project, has implemented a new communication tool, and is reporting success. Avamere is one of a few skilled nursing facilities in the country currently using the INTERACTprogram's Stop and Watch Early Warning Tool. The tool makes it easy for non-medical staff to report changes they see in residents. Early documentation of changes allows medical staff to pursue appropriate interventions before major health problems arise, avoiding expensive and disruptive treatments or hospitalization. Read the whole success story here.

SNMHI February Webinar Now Online
The February 26, 2013, Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI) webinar, Closing the Loop with Referral Management, focused on the implementation of referral tracking, the value of gaining physician leadership and staff buy-in, building a leaner medical home and village and enabling EHR meaningful use. Managing referrals is not only one of the most challenging services offered by primary care, but also one of the most important for continuity of care and patient health. Presented by a speaker from the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. Download the webinar slides or visit the SNMHI website.

WIREC White Paper Appears on ONC-HIT Website
The third of three WIREC white papers, Standardizing the Problem List in the Ambulatory Electronic Health Record to Improve Patient Care, is now posted on HealthIT.gov. The white paper, a featured resource, addresses Core Measure 3 ("Maintain Problem List") in Step 5 ("Achieve Meaningful Use") of implementing an EHR. Download the white paper now., or find all three white papers on the WIREC website.

Northwest Patient Safety Conference Registration Now Open
The Washington Patient Safety Coalition's Northwest Patient Safety Conference will be held May 21 at the Lynnwood, WA, Convention Center. MacArthur Fellow Eric Coleman, MD, MPH, and Kaiser Permanente's Vice President of Quality, Safety and Resource Management, Doug Bonacum, will be the plenary speakers. Qualis Health is a sponsor of the conference and will be presenting our Award of Excellence in Healthcare Quality to outstanding Washington providers. Learn more about the conference or register online.

Qualis Health CEO to Present at National Medical Home Summit
On March 14, 2013, Jonathan R. Sugarman, MD, MPH, President and CEO will be giving a presentation entitled Overview of the Safety Net Medial Home Initiative (SNMHI) and its Framework for Practice Transformation to participants in the 2013 National Medical Home Summit in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Sugarman also serves as a Mini-Summit Chair for the conference. Qualis Health will also be exhibiting at the event. For more details, visit the summit website.

The Future of Quality Measurement
WIREC Insider, February issue, features an article by Jesse C. James, MD, Senior Medical Officer for Meaningful Use in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC-HIT), highlighting methods by which Meaningful Use goals can be met, providing better care to patients. You'll also find "Health IT News," February's "Burning Issues," the first in a four-part series about the HIPAA Omnibus Rule, and information on upcoming events and deadlines. Lastly, find links to relevant articles and information from around the nation.

Qualis Health Care Transitions Project Profiled in The Seattle Times
The Seattle Times recently profiled our Whatcom County-based care transitions project, Stepping Stones: Bridging Healthcare Gaps. Learn about the impact this work had on reducing Medicare hospital readmissions in "The patient boomerang: Cutting hospital readmissions could save Medicare billions."

Bellingham Herald: 'Stepping Stones' Pilot Helps to Reduce Avoidable Readmissions to Hospital in Whatcom County
Read Whatcom County's Bellingham Herald for a follow up to a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) report about the Stepping Stones program. The January JAMA article outlined the Qualis Health-initiated effort in Whatcom County, Washington, that reduced hospitalization rates by nearly 6% and readmission rates by nearly 7%.

WIREC White Paper Featured in FierceEMR
An article in FierceEMR featured a WIREC report describing electronic health record adoption as a "psychological roller coaster" for small physician practices. The paper explains how the process involves unrealistic expectations that reach a peak right before implementation, a plunge into a "trough of disillusionment" and then a recovery phase involving a lot of hard work. Made public by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT late last week, the report outlines WIREC's experiences and challenges in helping its physicians adopt EHRs. The paper was also featured on the American Academy of Family Physicians' website.

Qualis Health 2013 Case In Point Award Finalist
Qualis Health has been named a finalist for the 2013 Case In Point Platinum Awards. Our program for the State of Alaska, Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health was selected for the Transitions of Care Programs category. Produced by Dorland Health, the Case In Point Platinum Awards recognize the most successful and innovative case management programs working to improve healthcare across the care continuum.

Story From The Front Lines: EHRs and Empowering Patients
WIREC Insider
, January issue, features St. Luke's Health System’s Dr. Mark Chasin giving his perspective on electronic health records (EHRs) and empowering patients. Also read about pertinent Meaningful Use burning questions answered by Health IT Consultant and Meaningful Use Coordinator, Trudy Bearden. You’ll also find upcoming WIREC webinars and more health IT news

December Medical Home Digest Covers Integrated Healthcare
This issue of Medical Home Digest is all about integration. It presents effective ways of adding previously separate services—behavioral healthcare and dental care—into primary care delivery. It also discusses successful techniques for incorporating patient and family experience into both individual care plans and practice quality improvement activities. Also included is information on how health information technology can support integration of medical home components and enable practices to provide, track and evaluate patient-centered care. Download the December 2012 Medical Home Digest.

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Grantee Meeting This Week
This week, Donna Christensen, MBA, Director, Finance and Risk Management; Peggy Evans PhD, CPHIT, Director, WIREC; John Hartgraves, Manager, Technical Operations; Zach Hodges, CPHIT, Manager, Technical Operations; Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Informatics; and Stephanie Yoo, Principal, Contracts and Procurement, are at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Annual Meeting called "A Meaningful Foundation for the Future of Healthcare." The meeting will focus on adoption of meaningful use (MU), using MU to improve quality and efficiency, how health IT engages patients and how providers have made privacy and security a priority.

Qualis Health Staff Joins National Healthcare Leadership at QualityNet Conference
Senior leaders from Qualis Health, including President and CEO Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, and Chief Operating Officer Marci Weis, RN, MPH, CCM, are among the over 1,000 attendees at the 2012 QualityNet conference. A number of our staff members are also at the conference, including Sharon Eloranta, MD; Linda Rowe, LPN, MS, BS; and Selena Bolotin, LICSW, MSW, who are representing Qualis Health on several panels. This year's event is structured to break down "silos" within the healthcare delivery system, promote collaborative learning and hasten the spread of innovations that produce significant, widespread increases in quality.

Cardiac LAN Participants Share Success Stories
Qualis Health's Cardiac Learning & Action Network is helping a cohort of primary care and cardiology practices across Idaho and Washington improve cardiac outcomes among their patient populations. Together, they're working to redesign workflows, use electronic health records as clinical quality improvement tools and apply proven change concepts. Read success stories from two participating practices: Idaho Minor Emergency & Family Practice and KB Family Practice.

Patient Partner Program, Strategies Explored in SNMHI Webinar
Learn more about Humboldt County consumer engagement in this Safety Net Medical Home Initiative webinar. Speakers from Aligning Forces Humboldt and Eureka Community Health Center examined Humboldt's patient partner program and explored strategies for building similar programs. These included connecting community-based self-management support to practices, working with patients to improve care, and recruiting and training patient partners. Download the presentation slides or view the webinar recording.

Qualis Health Facilitates Federal Recognition for Idaho
On November 26, Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter announced that the federal government had recognized Idaho as a national leader in efforts to enhance the safety and quality of healthcare by embracing the use of health information technology. Otter recognized Qualis Health's Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) program as a key contributor to this success. Read the news release on the Governor's website.

ID Congressman at WIREC Practice, 50% Rule Defined, More in WIREC Insider
In the November edition of WIREC Insider, read about Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson's visit to Idaho Falls' Rosemark WomenCare Specialists to discuss the clinic's concerns about Medicare reimbursements and the Affordable Care Act. You'll also learn more about the "50% Rule" that governs provider eligibility in the EHR Incentive Program. As always, you'll find plenty of health IT news and resources.

Fall 2012 Medical Home Digest Explores Vulnerable Populations
This issue of Medical Home Digest focuses on three vulnerable groups served by safety net practices: homeless patients, immigrants and rural Americans. It highlights the unique needs and challenges of these populations, and explores how patient-centered medical home transformation can increase access as well as improve quality of care and patient experience in challenging environments. Also featured is an article on the relationship between medical home transformation and NCQA PCMH Recognition. Download the Fall 2012 edition of Medical Home Digest.

Annual Medicare Case Reviews for ID and WA Released
Qualis Health's latest annual Medicare case reviews for Idaho and Washington are now available. As the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for both states, we protect Medicare beneficiaries by investigating individuals' concerns about their care, or when they feel they are being discharged too soon. These annual reports examine case reviews that we have completed on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries in Idaho and Washington. Download the Qualis Health 2011–2012 reports for Idaho and Washington.

PCMH Dental Care Case Studies Presented in White Paper
Qualis Health has published Oral Health Integration in the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Environment. The paper presents case studies from community health centers using the PCMH environment to align medical and dental care delivery to meet the dental care needs of underserved populations.

Diving Deeper: Team Roles Webinar Series Part 2
Continuing from Deeper Dive on Team Roles Part 1, this webinar from the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative focused on optimizing individual roles to support practice transformation. It included discussion of overcoming obstacles, navigating uncertainty and what's needed to support optimized roles. Speakers from participating sites also shared how they have transformed the roles of clinical pharmacist, registered nurse and medical assistant. Download the presentation slides or view the webinar recording.

WIREC Insider: WIREC PCP Attests to Washington Medicaid Meaningful Use
Recently, Dr. John Nuetzmann was WIREC's first Washington State primary care practitioner to attest to meaningful use under the Washington Medicaid program. In the October edition of WIREC Insider, you'll find Dr. Nuetzmann's success story, meaningful use (MU) stage two clinical care measures, and a variety of EHR and MU news from around the nation.

Call for Presentations
Qualis Health, Saint Alphonsus Health System and St. Luke's Health System invite you to share your success with like-minded, mission-oriented healthcare professionals. The Idaho 2013 Annual Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Conference will be held April 4–5, and we are looking for speakers with innovative and informative messages based on the theme "Quality Improvement & Medication Management: Rx for Patient Safety." Visit the conference webpage to learn more and download the Call for Presentations entry form..

Webinar Takes a Deeper Dive into Team Roles
Presenters from the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at the Group Health Research Institute, Beaver Falls Primary Care & Behavioral Health Center, and High Plains Community Health Center came together to conduct part 1 of a Safety Net Medical Home Initiative webinar series entitled Deeper Dive on Team Roles. Download the presentation slides or view the webinar recording.

Interactive Tool Kit Helps With Care Transitions Intervention® Implementation
Qualis Health has developed a new interactive tool kit to help area agencies on aging and others implement a community-based Care Transitions Intervention® (CTI) coaching program. The tool kit is available on the website of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services' Aging and Disability Services Administration at http://www.adsa.dshs.wa.gov/Professional/ADRC/documents/toolkit/Toolkit.pdf.

The tool kit was prepared for organizations that have been, or will be, officially trained in the Care Transition Intervention® (CTI) model, and incorporates materials developed by Eric A. Coleman, MD, MPH. The tool kit is not intended as a substitute for training by the Care Transitions Program®, and does not authorize the user to implement the model independently.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 in WIREC Insider
WIREC Insider's September issue
features Qualis Health Medical Director Jeff Hummel addressing Meaningful Use Stage 2 as an ongoing process as well as a Stage 2 cheat sheet. You'll also find a roundup of late-breaking EHR and MU news.

Cardiac LAN Newsletter Provides News You Can Use
The September issue of the Cardiac Learning & Action Network (LAN) newsletter addresses how EHRs can be used to help identify at-risk patients. This issue also presents techniques to help high-risk patients receive appropriate aspirin therapy. Read the newsletter now.

WIREC White Paper Gives Guidance on After-Visit Summaries
Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH, Medical Director, along with Peggy Evans, PhD, CPHIT, WIREC Director, recently produced "Providing Clinical Summaries to Patients after Each Office Visit: A Technical Guide." Designed to help eligible professionals and their organizations gain a better grasp of how to successfully meet the criteria of giving clinical summaries to patients after each office visit, this paper addresses one of the most challenging of all meaningful use elements.

Qualis Health Strong for Surgery Educational Collaborator
Qualis Health is an educational collaborator for the Strong for Surgery initiative, which is identifying and improving evidence-based practices for elective surgical patients in four target areas: nutrition, glycemic control/diabetes management, smoking cessation and medication. Read more about this important initiative.

PSPC 5.0 Begins in Fall 2012
We're beginning recruitment of Idaho and Washington providers for the 2012-2013 Patient Safety and Clinical Pharmacy Services Collaborative (PSPC). This nationwide program helps participating teams integrate evidence-based clinical pharmacy services into the care and management of high-risk, high-cost, complex patients. Learn about the free services that we offer to PSPC teams as well as how to participate.

August WIREC Insider Addresses GAO Report
At the end of July, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report stating that healthcare providers who partnered with a Regional Extension Center (REC) were more than twice as likely to receive an incentive payment under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. The August edition of WIREC Insider discusses details of this GAO report as well other news for providers interested in Meaningful Use.

SNMHI Participant Speaks on Redesigning the Hospital Discharge
Kelly McGrath, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Idaho's Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics, presented a care coordination webinar to participants in the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative. In Redesign of the Hospital Discharge: Patient-Centered Care to Improve Safety, Cost and Outcomes, Dr. McGrath discussed why and how his organization focused on hospital discharge policies and processes, the results they achieved and their plans to maintain and improve these results. Download the slides or view the webinar recording.

CMS Releases Stage 2 Final Rule
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) announced today the final rule for Stage 2 of meaningful use in the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Payments Program. This announcement marks the next step in transforming America's healthcare system to a health IT-enabled one.

Safety Net Medical Home Initiative Profiled in Health Affairs
As part of its August 2012 edition, Health Affairs profiled the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI). The article, "Foundations Aim to Strengthen and Improve the Safety Net," provides a selected sampling of foundation efforts to help safety net providers and populations, including SNMHI.

Summer Medical Home Digest Includes Medical Home Transformation and Quality Improvement Topics
This information-packed issue of the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative's Medical Home Digest features a broad array of topics related to medical home transformation and quality improvement. It contains articles on engaging staff in measurement and quality improvement, the role of the RN in direct patient care, and balancing supply and demand in a practice. Also included are two interviews, one reflecting on how to keep the patient voice at the center of care and another on Group Health's patient-centered approach to managing phone calls.

Free Resources for Implementing and Using EHRs Now Available
Are you looking for assistance setting up or using your electronic health record (EHR)? Visit our Medicare website for a sampling of free resources. We have both start-up advice and information for more advanced users.

SNMHI Presentation Highlights Care Coordination Efforts in Three Rural Clinics
The University of Chicago's Sarah Derrett, MPH, PhD, and Katie Gunter, MPH, MSW, recently spoke to Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI) participants. In Care Coordination in Rural Communities: Preliminary Findings on Strategies Used at 3 SNMHI Sites, the two presented an overview of case studies they conducted at three rural clinics participating in the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, including similarities, differences and highlights in how the three clinics implemented the Care Coordination change concept. Download the presentation slides or view the webinar recording.

Jonathan Sugarman Joins Medical Home News Board
Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, President and CEO of Qualis Health, has joined the National Advisory Board of Medical Home News. This monthly newsletter is targeted at healthcare professionals interested in patient-centered medical homes. Visit the Medical Home News website

July Cardiac LAN Newsletter Available
The July Cardiac Learning & Action Network (LAN) newsletter is out. This issue of News You Can Use explores the effectiveness of expanded care teams on cardiac health.

Story from the Front Lines: The Planned Care Model and the After Visit Summary
Featured in the July issue of WIREC Insider is an excerpt from a white paper authored by Qualis Health's Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH, and Peggy Evans, PhD, CPHIT. The Planned Care Model and the After Visit Summary discusses five steps to organize a visit in order to produce an after visit summary.

Skagit Valley Hospital Implements CAUTI Prevention Program
As part of our Medicare Quality Improvement Organization contract, Qualis Health helps Idaho and Washington hospitals put evidence-based practices to work in reducing the incidence of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). At Skagit Valley Hospital, after implementing a CAUTI prevention program, rates have remarkably dropped from approximately six to seven per month in February of 2011 to zero per month from December 2012 to April 2012. Read Skagit Valley Hospital's Success Story.

Idaho Medicaid Incentive Management System Open for Business
On July 2, the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare launched its Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. Interested providers can now register on both the national and the state level for incentive payments as they adopt, implement, upgrade and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Visit the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare website to learn more.

Qualis Health Medical Director Shares PCMH Views in CMIO Magazine
One of the features in the July/August issue of CMIO magazine discusses primary care practices' transformation away from the fee-for-service model and toward the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. Qualis Health's Medical Director for Clinical Informatics Dr. Jeff Hummel shares his views on PCMH transformation in "Medical Home: The New Normal." Read the article.

SNMHI Publishes Second Engaged Leadership Implementation Guide Supplement
The second of two Engaged Leadership implementation guide supplements, this release from the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI) provides ideas and strategies that health center board members can use to help the centers they govern become high-performing patient-centered medical homes. Read Engaged Leadership Supplement Part 2: How Health Center Board Members Can Support Medical Home Transformation.

Qualis Health Cardiac LAN PCOs at the Forefront of EHR Use
Two primary care organizations (PCOs) participating in Qualis Health's Cardiac Learning & Action Network (LAN) recently discussed their ongoing efforts in using electronic health records (EHRs) to generate reports for tracking specific quality of care measures. The reports will help participants gauge their own quality metrics, compare them against that of other Cardiac LAN participants and submit data to CMS' Physician Quality Reporting System. Learn about the progress being made at Washington Park Medical Center and St. Luke's Magic Valley.

Engaged Leadership Supplement Aims to Assist Leaders with PCMH Transformation
The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative's latest publication is a follow up to its Engaged Leadership implementation guide. The Resources for Leaders supplement is a compilation of recommendations by quality improvement specialists and healthcare system leaders engaged in patient-centered medical home (PCMH) transformation. Its purpose is to provide further tools, resources and training programs for leaders working to transform their practices into PCMHs.

June WIREC Insider: WIREC Doc Attends White House Health IT Town Hall Meeting
This edition of the WIREC Insider covers WIREC Medical Director Jeff Hummel's journeys to successful EHR use and the White House; answers to meaningful use burning issues from Trudy Bearden and the ONC-endorsed Meaningful Use Burning Issues Workgroup; and using huddles to improve care coordination.

Local Success Story: Grangeville, ID, Nursing Home Eliminates Restraints and Reduces Alarms within Two Months
As part of our Medicare Quality Improvement Organization contract, Qualis Health helps Idaho and Washington nursing homes reduce the use of physical restraints. While recognizing that quality improvement is a never-ending journey, it's important to celebrate the successes along the way. Grangeville Health & Rehabilitation Center recently reached a milestone in its falls reduction program by eliminating restraints and reducing alarms within two months. Read Grangeville Health & Rehabilitation Center's Success Story.

Monthly Briefing Helps with Inventorying Care Transitions Activities
Each month, the Qualis Health Communities for Safer Transitions of Care project's Monthly Briefing spreads the word about care transitions efforts in Idaho and Washington. May's primary article discusses strategies for inventorying care transitions activities in order to share practices and identify gaps. Read the article or join the mailing list to receive the full edition.

Two More Meaningful Users in May WIREC Insider
May's Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center newsletter, WIREC Insider, features two practices that recently achieved Meaningful Use and winners of the Qualis Health Washington Award of Excellence in Healthcare Quality. You can also read regular columns such as "Meaningful Use Burning Issues" and "Health IT News."

WIREC Comments on Stage 2 MU Proposed Rules
On March 7, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Stage 2 meaningful use (MU) to the Federal Register. The proposed rule outlines the requirements for the next stage of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, which are administered by CMS. The 60-day comment period ended on May 7 and the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) posted its comments, which can be found here.

Qualis Health Selected to Serve on PCA Demonstration
Qualis Health—along with the National Association of Community Health Centers' Patient Centered Medical Home Institute and the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation—will be partnering with American Institutes for Research (AIR) to serve on a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contract to help Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) invest in patient care and infrastructure supporting 500 FQHC sites in achieving the goals of the CMS Demonstration. Read the NACHC press release.

Model VBP Worksheets for Idaho and Washington Hospitals Available
Qualis Health has created model value-based purchasing (VBP) worksheets for both FY2013 and FY2014. Hospitals in Idaho and Washington can use these to track their progress, set goals and estimate their total performance score (TPS) within Medicare's VBP program. Learn more.

Qualis Health WIREC Provider Profiled by ONC
Olympic Physicians, a practice located in Shelton, Washington, is included in the meaningful use case studies on HealthIT.gov, a website of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). This case study profiles Olympic Physicans' journey with Qualis Health's Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) consultants toward meaningful use. Read Rural Health IT: Clinic in Washington State Uses EHR System to Improve Care Coordination.

Qualis Health's Medicare Website Wins Aster Award
Qualis Health's Medicare website—which is focused on our work as a Medicare Quality Improvement Organization—was recognized with a Gold-level Aster Award in the 2012 competition. Redesigned in August 2011, the website serves Medicare beneficiaries, healthcare providers and community partners across Idaho and Washington. Visit qualishealthmedicare.org. Learn more about the Aster Awards.

SNMHI Webinar Addresses Secure Messaging
Speakers Carl Serrato, PhD; Sally Retecki, MBA; Matthew Handley, MD; and L. Gordon Moore, MD, recently spoke to participants in the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI) on how Kaiser Permanente, Group Health and others have been using secure messaging with patients in their practices. View the webinar online or download the slides for Using Technology to Improve Access: Secure Messaging.

Have You Seen the Latest WIREC Insider?
This edition explains the answers to five burning Meaningful Use (MU) issues, how eligible professionals can create MU audit files and more. Read the April edition of the WIREC Insider.

Care Transitions Monthly Briefing Distributed
The April edition of Qualis Health's Communities for Safer Transitions of Care was distributed last week. The monthly briefing features the "Going Home from the Hospital" video, which aims to help patients avoid rehospitalization.

March Medical Home Digest Discusses Evidence-Based Care
This issue of the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative's newsletter features articles on Organized, Evidence-based Care, including risk-stratifying patients to enable targeted care. It also provides reflections on transformation from participants in the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, and a case study on reducing avoidable ED visits among newly-diagnosed diabetic patients. Read the March 2012 Medical Home Digest.

Selena Bolotin Speaks About Medicare Care Transitions
Selena Bolotin, LICSW, MSW, Qualis Health's Care Transitions Project Manager, presented at the April meeting of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council for Aging & Disability Services. This volunteer citizens group represents older adults and individuals with disabilities within the community. View the slides for What Are Care Transitions? (And Why It Matters).

Safety Net Clinics Try Out the PCMH Concept: Lessons from Kansas City
Brenda Sharpe, President and CEO of the REACH Healthcare Foundation, authored an article for Health Affairs GrantWatch Blog, sharing her organization’s experience with the Patient-Centered Medical Home Model (PCMH). With support from Qualis Health’s PCMH consulting team, the REACH Healthcare Foundation has worked to transform their systems of care and has seen a positive return on investment.

WIREC Insider Goes Monthly with New March Edition
Going from quarterly to monthly, the new edition of the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center's (WIREC) newsletter, WIREC Insider, is now available online. This issue includes information about Qualis Health's new Cardiac Learning & Action Network (LAN), helpful tips on successfully attesting to Meaningful Use for Medicare Eligible Professionals, "Clinical Summaries on the Patient Portal" by Trudy Bearden, PA-C, MPAS, CPHIT -- plus the latest health IT news and more.

Care Transitions Newsletter Debuts This Month
The Communities for Safer Transitions of Care project, part of Qualis Health’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) work, has introduced Monthly Briefing—a newsletter dedicated to care transitions and reducing readmissions. This monthly newsletter is targeted to providers and community partners across Idaho and Washington. It is intended to spread the news about local care transitions efforts. Read an excerpt from the first issue. Or you can subscribe and have the full edition emailed to you each month.

Qualis Health Workshop Helps Centralia Practice Solve Long-Standing Challenge
A workshop in Lean workflow helped Washington Park Medical Center greatly reduce the amount of time and hassle previously required to ensure that childhood immunizations are administered during office visits. Learn how they did it.

The Commonwealth Fund Publishes PCMH Paper Co-Authored by SNMHI Staff
A new report posted on The Commonwealth Fund's website, Guiding Transformation: How Medical Practices Can Become Patient-Centered Medical Homes, "outlines and describes the changes that most medical practices would need to make to become patient-centered medical homes." The report includes co-authors from the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI): the MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation at the Group Health Research Institute's Edward Wagner, MD, MPH, and Katie Coleman, MSPH; Robert Reid, MD, PhD, MPH, from the Group Health Research Institute; and Qualis Health's Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, President & CEO, and Kathryn Phillips, MPH, Director, SNMHI.

SNMHI Announces Supplements to Implementation Guides
The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative
(SNMHI) has published three supplements to their implementation guides. The Care Coordination supplement focuses on reducing avoidable emergency department visits and improving the quality and efficiency of care. The Continuous and Team-based Healing Relationships supplement is intended to be used by line-, site- and organization-level leadership interested in redesigning staff roles. The Organized, Evidence-based Care supplement defines care management and provides practical recommendations about how to provide care management services to high-risk patients.

Qualis Health a Finalist for 2012 Case In Point Platinum Awards
Qualis Health's workers' compensation utilization management program has been named a finalist in the "Managed Care: Utilization Management Program" category for a 2012 Case In Point Platinum Award. This awards competition recognizes successful and innovative case management programs across the country. Category winners will be announced on May 9, 2012. Learn more about this honor.

Consultants Share Their Experiences in the WIREC Insider
January's WIREC Insider includes lessons learned by WIREC Health IT Consultants Helen Strobel, RN, MPH, CPHIT, and Trudy Bearden, PA-C, MPAS, CPHIT, in "Pitfalls on the Road to Meaningful Use," while WIREC Consultant Kelley Carnwath, MPH, provides tips on "Meaningful Use of Electronic Medical Records and Race/Ethnicity Data Collection."

Neighborcare Presents Optimizing the Role of the Front Desk Staff
In a December 15 webinar, Katie Bell and Prathiba Pinnamaneni of Seattle's Neighborcare Health presented a webinar for the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative. In it, they discussed why and how their clinics organized and optimized the role of the front desk staff. View Optimizing the Role of the Front Desk Staff online or download the slides; download the Neighborcare Tasking Guidelines.

Idaho 2012 Annual Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Conference Call for Presentations
The 2012 Idaho Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Conference will be held April 5–6 in Boise. This year's conference will focus on effective coordination to enhance patient care quality and safety when transferring from one setting of care to another. We are looking for speakers with innovative and informative messages based on the theme "Safety in Transitions" to share with the healthcare industry. Presentation proposals must be postmarked by Friday, January 20, 2012. Learn more about the conference or download an application.

December Publications from WIREC: Quarterly Update and WIREC Insider
December brings two newsletters from the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC): WIREC Quarterly Update and WIREC Insider. Both include news about a major regional extension center milestone, and opinions and impressions from an Idaho healthcare provider on a recent WIREC workshop, as well as regular features.

New from SNMHI: Patient-Centered Interactions and Quality Improvement Webinars
The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI) recently hosted webinars on Patient-Centered Interactions and Quality Improvement. View the presentation or download the slides for "Establishing Patient and Family Advisory Councils in the Medical Home." View the presentation or download the slides for "Using Data for Quality Improvement."

Read WIREC Insider October Issue
Want to learn more about the WIREC Best Practices Forum, read a story from the front lines about meaningful use attestation or get tips on conducting an EHR system go-live dress rehearsal? All of this—and more—is in the October edition of WIREC Insider, the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center's monthly newsletter.

Building and Sustaining Momentum for PCMH Transformation
Did you miss the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative's most recent Quality Improvement Strategy webinar? Now you can download the slides for "Building and Sustaining Momentum for PCMH Transformation" or view the presentation online.

September's WIREC Insider a Patient Engagement Special Edition
Unlike previous Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) newsletters, the September 2011 edition of WIREC Insider is devoted to a single—and vital—topic patient engagement. With the help of Daniel Lessler, MD, MHA, who consults with WIREC and is Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Associate Medical Director for Ambulatory Care Services at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, the WIREC Insider delves into this important subject.

Presenting Two New SNMHI Resources: Medical Home Digest and Policy Brief #3
The August issue of the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative's (SNMHI) Medical Home Digest features articles on care coordination, care management and the new NCQA 2011 Patient-Centered Medical Home standards. It also presents case studies from two partner clinics. SNMHI's third and latest policy brief, Paying for the Medical Home Part 2: Considering Social, Behavioral, and Environmental Factors in Payment Models, presents ideas about how payment models can be improved to better support patient-centered medical home transformation in the safety net.

Medical Assistant Training and More from SNMHI
The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI), a program of The Commonwealth Fund, Qualis Health and the MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation at the Group Health Research Institute, released two new guides in August. Elevating the Role of the Medical/Clinical Assistant: Maximizing Team-Based Care in the Patient-Centered Medical Home includes a curriculum and training materials for practices to enhance medical/clinical assistants' skills. QI Strategy Implementation Guide Part I: Choosing and Using a QI Framework contains an overview of quality improvement (QI) methods, information on two methods commonly used in patient-centered medical home transformation and more.

Get the Inside Scoop from WIREC
WIREC Insider
, the stakeholder newsletter for the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center, has released its August edition. Hear from the first WIREC enrollee to attest to meaningful use, find out about important dates in the EHR Incentive Program and get tips on attestation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

New Organized, Evidence-based Care Resources Available
"Change Concepts" are general ideas used to stimulate specific, actionable steps that lead to improvement. "Organized, Evidence-based Care" is one of eight Change Concepts employed by the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI). Materials from two recent Organized, Evidence-based Care webinars are now available from the SNMHI. Download slides from the June 7 webinar, "Organized, Evidence-based Care," or slides and audio/video from the July 11 webinar, "Implementing Effective Clinical Care Management."

Two New WIREC Publications Released
The Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) released two publications this past week. WIREC Quarterly Stakeholder Newsletter was released Tuesday, July 5, 2011, and WIREC Insider was released July 11, 2011. Both pieces include news on meaningful use, health information technology and more.

Qualis Health Takes Two Asters
Qualis Health was recently honored with two 2011 Aster Awards—a gold for their new corporate website and a silver for their 2009-2010 Report to the Community. Recognizing healthcare organizations for excellence in their advertising and marketing efforts during 2010, the 2011 Aster Awards garnered approximately 3,000 entries from across the United States, as well as Canada and South America. Judging criteria included creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal.

Empanelment Part 2 is SNMHI's Latest Implementation Guide
Created by the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI), Empanelment Part 2: Assigning and Managing Panels in a Patient-Centered Medical Home offers instructions that will allow practices to assign panels, make job assignments to support empanelment and sustain the effort over time. Also included in this implementation guide are interactive tools to help practices understand patient acuity and balance provider panels accordingly.

Read the Spring Issue of Patient Safety Advance
The Spring issue of Qualis Health's Patient Safety Advance newsletter is now available. Topics include sustaining quality improvement gains, a case study on reducing restraints, alarms and falls, CMS' Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program, Washington State MDRO prevention collaboratives and Qualis Health's Awards of Excellence in Healthcare Quality.

The Commonwealth Fund Releases New SNMHI Video
Safety Net Medical Home Initiative (SNMHI) sponsor The Commonwealth Fund recently released, "The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative: Transforming Primary Care." In this video, SNMHI administrators and participants discuss their progress.

The Value of Shared Learning: Patient-Centered Medical Home Transformation in the Safety Net
Safety Net Medical Home Initiative
Director Kathryn Phillips, MPH, was published in the May edition of Medical Home Bulletin. Kathryn's article, "The Value of Shared Learning: Patient-Centered Medical Home Transformation in the Safety Net," is available via subscription at www.MedicalHomeNews.com.

WIREC Insider May Edition Out Now
The latest edition of the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center's (WIREC) newsletter, WIREC Insider, is available online. Read about the connections Qualis Health's Medical Director for Health Informatics Dr. Jeff Hummel makes between performance art and healthcare workflow, WIREC's group purchase EHR program and late-breaking EHR and privacy and security in the context of meaningful use.

Value-Based Purchasing Raises the Stakes
In its May 2011 edition, The Society of Hospital Medicine's publication The Hospitalist discusses The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' value-based purchasing (VBP) program. The article, "Value-Based Purchasing Raises the Stakes" features participants in Qualis Health's Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) program and calls out Qualis Health's VBP calculator.

Get the Latest Medical Home Resources
Spring has yielded a bumper crop of new resources from the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, including two implementation guides, a facilitator's guide and a special double issue of the Medical Home Digest.

Silver City Health Center Attains NCQA PCMH Recognition
Outlook Associates
, a division of Qualis Health, directs the REACH Medical Home Initiative, a bi-state project in the Kansas City metro area designed to guide nine safety net clinics toward patient-centered medical home (PCMH) transformation. Participating clinic Silver City Health Center (SCHS) was recently awarded Level 3 PCMH recognition by National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA) for their achievements in practice transformation. SCHC's award marks two distinguished firsts: the first practice to gain NCQA PCMH recognition in the state of Kansas, and the first clinic in the REACH Medical Home Initiative to attain this recognition.

Peggy Evans Answers HIMSS Questions About WIREC
Peggy Evans, PhD, CPHIT, Director of the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) was recently interviewed by Healthcare Information and Management Systems' (HIMSS) Digital Office Task Force Member Tony Khuu. Read the interview.

New Partnership Aims to Improve Healthcare Quality, Safety and Affordability
On April 12, 2011, The Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs was announced. This program of the Obama Administration brings together leaders of major hospitals, employers, physicians, nurses and patient advocates along with state and federal governments in a shared effort to make hospital care safer, more reliable and less costly. To help achieve these goals, public and private partners will develop models to deliver better care for patients that can be shared widely. Qualis Health has proudly taken the pledge of participation.

WIREC Insider Talks Workflow Redesign
The March edition of the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center's (WIREC) quarterly newsletter, WIREC Insider, was recently released. Read it now to learn about WIREC workflow redesign workshops, test your meaningful use knowledge and more.

SNMHI Releases New Implementation Guide
Many important features of the patient-centered medical home model are difficult to implement without state-of-the-art information management tools. The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative's (SNMHI) Quality Improvement Strategy Implementation Guide Part 2: Optimizing the Use of Health Information Technology for Patient-Centered Medical Homes describes how clinics can optimize health information technology to power medical home workflows. Read the guide.

Qualis Health Publishes Report to the Community
Qualis Health's 2009-2010 Report to the Community is now available. Learn more about our efforts to improve healthcare over the past two years by reading the Report.

Jeff Hummel Blogs on Clinic Workflow Design
Qualis Health's Medical Director for Health Informatics, Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH, recently wrote a blog entry for the HITRC portal, a secure website for Regional Extension Centers. In his article about workflow redesign, he shares an analogy between workflows in primary care clinics and set changes in stage shows. The HITRC portal is a secure site, but you can read Dr. Hummel's blog entry, "My Daughter is an Aerialist", on our WIREC website.

Qualis Health Welcomes New Board Members
Steven Burgon, JD, and Margaret T. Stanley, MHA, recently joined Qualis Health's board of directors. Mr. Burgon, the President and Founder of Burgon Law Office, has 20 years of experience working with nonprofit and charitable entities. Ms. Stanley has an extensive background leading public and private sector healthcare organizations, including positions in public policy, administration of health benefits programs and management of healthcare delivery organizations. View Mr. Burgon's bio or Ms. Stanley's bio.

Jonathan Sugarman Interviewed for Medical Home News
The January 2011 edition of Medical Home News includes an interview with Qualis Health President and CEO Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH. Read the interview.

"Going Home from the Hospital" Video Presents Steps to Safer Care Transitions
One in five Medicare patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after discharge. This new video from the Stepping Stones Project of Whatcom County shows patients and caregivers how taking just four steps can help with a safer transition from hospital to home. Watch the video.

WIREC Enrolls 1,000 Primary Care Providers
The Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) has now enrolled 1,000 primary care providers in its program to assist with adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records. Led by Qualis Health, WIREC is among the first of the 62 regional extension centers to reach this milestone. Read the press release. Visit the WIREC website.

Quality Improvement Report Examines ED Medication Management Workflow
Published online in June, "Medication reconciliation in the emergency department: opportunities for workflow redesign" by Peggy Evans, PhD, CPHIT, Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH, and Helan Lee-Garrard is in the December 2010 edition of the journal Quality and Safety in Health Care. Read the abstract.

Qualis Health, WIREC on Facebook
Qualis Health and WIREC now have their own official Facebook pages. Become a fan to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information about Qualis Health, the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center and the work we do. Join the conversation now! Visit Qualis Health on Facebook. Visit WIREC on Facebook.

L.A. Care Taps Qualis Health for New Pilot Program
L.A. Care Health Care Plan, the nation’s largest public health plan, announced a two-year pilot program to help transform 11 health care practices into patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs). Qualis Health will contribute its expertise in PCMH transformation consulting to the program. Read the press release.

WIREC Profiled in Two Northwest Healthcare Trade Journals
"Meaningful Guidance Helps Healthcare Providers Reach Meaningful Use in WA and ID with the WIREC Program," authored by Peggy Evans, PhD, CPHIT, WIREC Executive Director, Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH, WIREC Medical Director, was recently published in both Idaho Healthcare News and Washington Healthcare News.

Healthcare Excellence Award for Qualis Health Leadership
Cara Robinson, RN, BSN, CCM, Qualis Health's Vice President of Medicaid Services, and Eric Wall, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Director, were selected as 2010 honorees at the Dorland Health People Awards. Ms. Robinson was the winner in the "Case/Care Manager-Leadership" category and Dr. Wall received Honorable Mention in the "Medical Director-Provider" category. Read the press release.

ACP Hospitalist Article Discusses Stepping Stones Project
"Reducing Readmissions by Empowering Patients" in the September issue of ACP Hospitalist discusses Qualis Health's work in Whatcom County, Washington aimed at eliminating unnecessary readmissions to St. Joseph Hospital. Selena Bolotin, LICSW, MSW, Project Manager for Care Transitions, and Evan Stults, Executive Director of QSI Communications, were interviewed for the article. Learn more about the Stepping Stones Project.

Dr. Mabel Ezeonwu Joins Qualis Health Board
Qualis Health recently welcomed Mabel Ezeonwu, PhD, RN, BSN, to its board of directors. Dr. Ezeonwu is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Washington Bothell and has practiced for over a decade as a Registered Nurse at several Seattle-area hospitals and medical centers. View Dr. Ezeonwu's bio.

Dr. Michels Honored
Dale Michels, MD, D-ABFM, F-AAFP, Nebraska Medical Director, was selected to receive the 2010 Nebraska Medical Association’s Distinguished Service to Medicine Award. This award recognizes his excellent service, both to his patients and to Nebraska’s medical community. Dr. Michels was nominated for the award by the Lancaster County Medical Society, and he was honored at a luncheon given by the Nebraska Medical Association on October 1.

Qualis Health Wins Washington State Quality Award for Performance Excellence
On September 22, Qualis Health was honored as the winner of the prestigious Washington State Quality Award, Leadership Level, at the annual Washington State Quality Award Symposium.

Read the press release.

Read CEO Jonathan Sugarman's remarks upon accepting the award.

Qualis Health Honored for WIREC Logo
Qualis Health has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence for the WIREC logo from the national American Graphic Design Awards. Graphic Designer Amy Sanders created the winning logo. The Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center helps participating healthcare providers achieve meaningful use of EHRs.

WIREC Awarded Additional HHS Funds
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on September 10, 2010, that nearly $20 million has been released to help critical access and rural hospitals' outpatient facilities convert from paper-based medical records to certified EHR technology. Qualis Health's share of the awards is $564,000 for its WIREC program. Read the press release.

Palina Louangketh Co-authors Stroke Journal Article
QI Consultant Palina Louangketh, MHS, contributed to an article in the journal Stroke. The article, "Striking Rural-Urban Disparities Observed in Acute Stroke Care Capacity and Services in the Pacific Northwest: Implications and Recommendations," can be read here.

Michael Garrett Helps Shape CCMC Brief
Michael Garrett, MS, CCM, Vice President of Business Development, made extensive contributions to the latest Commission for Case Manager Certification Issue Brief, titled "Care Coordination: Case managers 'Connect the Dots' in New Delivery Models." Read the issue brief.

WIREC Director Testifies Before House Subcommittee at HITECH Act Hearing
Peggy Evans, PhD, CPHIT, Director of the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee of Health, on July 27, 2010, in Washington, DC. Read the press release or view video of the proceedings.

HHS Announces Final Rules to Support Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records
On July 13, 2010, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced final rules for meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). Led by Qualis Health, WIREC is one of 60 Regional Extension Centers around the country designated to support provider efforts to become meaningful users of EHRs. Providers who meet meaningful use objectives can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments. Read the press release.

Life Science Discovery Article Published
Qualis Health's Peggy Evans, PhD, CPHIT, Jeff Hummel, MD, MPH, and Helan Lee-Gerrard submitted an article entitled Medication reconciliation in the emergency department: opportunities for workflow redesign to the journal Quality and Safety in Health Care. Written as part of the Life Science Discovery Fund award, the article was accepted in November 2009 and posted to the journal's website in June. Read the abstract.

Jonathan Sugarman Speaks at National Medicaid Congress
Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, President and CEO of Qualis Health, presented at the fifth annual National Medicaid Congress on June 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. View Dr. Sugarman's presentation, "Community Health Centers: Medical Homes in the Safety Net."

Evan Stults Presents at National Medicare Readmissions Summit
Qualis Health's Executive Director of QSI Communications, Evan Stults, gave a presentation titled "Stepping Stones: Community Engagement to Reduce Unnecessary Rehospitalizations" at the National Medicare Readmissions Summit on June 8, 2010, in Washington, DC. Visit the Stepping Stones website.

SNMHI Issue Brief Released by The Commonwealth Fund
The Commonwealth Fund has formally released the 2009 Safety Net Medical Home Initiative Issue Brief, "Providing Underserved Patients with Medical Homes: Assessing the Readiness of Safety-Net Health Centers," authored by Katie Coleman, MSPH, and Kathryn Phillips, MPH. Read the Issue Brief.

Qualis Health Honors Washington Healthcare Providers
Qualis Health presented the Awards of Excellence in Healthcare Quality to five Washington healthcare providers at the Northwest Patient Safety Conference on May 4 in Seattle. Read the press release.

Qualis Health Receives Two Case In Point Platinum Awards
Qualis Health was named as a Case In Point Platinum Award winner in both the Medicaid Case Management Program and Utilization Management Program categories during a ceremony on April 20, 2010, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. See our feature in the April/May issue of Case In Point.

Qualis Health Honors Idaho Healthcare Providers
Selected from healthcare providers across Idaho, five Award of Excellence in Healthcare Quality recipients were honored during a luncheon ceremony at the annual Idaho Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Conference. Read the press release.

Michael Garrett Speaks at Wichita Business Coalition on Health Care
Michael B. Garrett, MS, CCM, Vice President of Business Development at Qualis Health presented on best practices in care management to the Wichita Business Coalition on Health Care on Friday, April 16, 2010. View an executive biography for Michael B. Garrett.

Contact Us

For media inquiries please contact:

Evan Stults
Executive Director, QSI Communications
(206) 288-2458