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Qualis Health Awarded Contracts to Serve as the Medicare QIO for Idaho and Washington

August 18, 2008

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Awards Contracts to Qualis Health for the 9th Statement of Work

Seattle - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded contracts for the 9th Statement of Work totaling $13.5 million to Qualis Health to serve as the quality improvement organization (QIO) designated to improve the quality of care and protect beneficiaries in Washington and Idaho. CMS is the federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services that administers the Medicare program for the almost one million combined beneficiaries in the two states.

“We are delighted to be able to continue this very important work on behalf of all beneficiaries in Washington and Idaho,” said Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, President and CEO of Qualis Health. “Building upon our longstanding relationships with local healthcare providers and other stakeholders will ensure that the quality and value of the healthcare provided to our Medicare patients continues to improve.”

Qualis Health, over the next three years, will seek to improve the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries by working in three domains that CMS has designated for improvement in the new contracts, known as the 9th Statement of Work (SOW). These domains or themes identify a very specific set of tasks to lead to quality improvement. The themes are:

Beneficiary Protection: Qualis Health will carry out statutorily mandated activities such as reviewing the quality of care provided to beneficiaries, reviewing beneficiary appeals of certain provider notices, and implementing projects that make system-wide quality of care improvements based on case review activities.

Patient Safety (also known as the “CMS National Patient Safety Initiative”): Qualis Health will focus on supporting health care providers in their work to reduce the rates of healthcare associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, to reduce pressure ulcers (bedsores) in nursing homes and hospitals, to reduce rates of physical restraint use in nursing homes, to improve inpatient surgical safety and heart failure treatment in hospitals, and to improve drug safety. Qualis Health will also provide other focused quality improvement technical assistance to selected nursing homes.

Prevention: Qualis Health will work with physician offices to leverage electronic health record (EHR) systems in ways that will help improve immunization rates for influenza and pneumonia, as well as breast cancer and colorectal cancer screenings.

 “As we work through these tasks,” Dr. Sugarman continued, “we will be one step closer to transforming the quality of medical care, care in which every patient gets the right care every time and where care is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable.”


About Qualis Health

Qualis Health is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare delivery and health outcomes for individuals and populations across the nation. Founded in 1974, the nonprofit healthcare quality improvement organization (QIO) is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and has regional offices in Alaska, Idaho, California, South Carolina, and Nebraska. For additional information about Qualis Health, visit www.qualishealth.org.

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