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2013 News Archive

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 and 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.
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.
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 Conferece
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.
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.
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.
Qualis Health Quarterly March 2013 Now Online
Qualis Health Quarterly, our newsletter for Nebraska Medicaid providers, is now available. Inside, you'll find both Home Health and Hospital Utilization Management updates.
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 Quali Health's Communities for Safer Care Transitions 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 INTERACT program'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.
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.
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.
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. The piece, titled, "The patient boomerang: Cutting hospital readmissions could save Medicare billions," detailed the impact this work had on reducing Medicare hospital readmissions.
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 a 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
WIREC White Paper Helps Providers Manage and Leverage Their Problem List
Maintaining an up-to-date problem list is a core element of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' definition of electronic health record meaningful use. The Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center's latest white paper, Standardizing the Problem List in the Ambulatory Electronic Health Record to Improve Patient Care, can help you leverage the problem list for better patient care. Download the white paper now.

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Evan Stults
Vice President, Communications
(206) 288-2458