2015 CMS Quality Conference News Roundup

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Day two plenary speaker, Jeneen Iwugo of CMS
Day two plenary speaker, Jeneen Iwugo of CMS

What’s happening in the world of health care quality improvement? We’ve compiled a list of the top news and announcements shared at the 2015 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Conference.

National Patient Safety Efforts Save 87,000 Lives and Nearly $20 Billion in Costs

On Dec. 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report showing a 17 percent decline in hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) between 2010 and 2014. As a result, an estimated 87,000 fewer patients died in the hospital, and nearly $20 billion in cost savings was achieved.

HHS credited these strides in patient safety to strong, diverse public-private partnerships and active engagement by patients and families, as well as efforts by the federal Partnership for Patients, Hospital Engagement Networks and Quality Improvement Organizations.

Read the full report here.

CMS Awards $110 Million in ESRD Network Funding

On Dec. 1, 2015, CMS also announced the award of $110 million in End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) funding for the 18 ESRD Networks to seven entities, including IPRO, Quality Insights, Health Services Advisory Group, Alliant Health Solutions, Qsource/​Network Strategies and Innovation, Renal Network of the Upper Midwest and Health Insights.

The seven entities will work from 2016 to 2020 to continue efforts in improving quality of care and access to care for individuals with irreversible kidney disease who require dialysis or transplantation to sustain life.

View the news announcement here.

CMS Introduces Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare

Recently, the CMS Office of Minority Health released the CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare. The plan provides an action-oriented, results-driven approach for advancing health equity by improving the quality of care provided to minority and other underserved Medicare beneficiaries.

CMS’ path to health equity centers around increasing understanding and awareness of disparities, creating and disseminating promising solutions, and implementing sustainable actions.

View the full plan here.

CMS Launches Medication Safety Campaign

CMS' new Medication Safety Campaign -- based on person and family engagement strategies -- aims to identify and apply innovative interventions for redesigning medication use systems, increasing medication adherence and decreasing preventable adverse drug events. 

As part of the campaign kick-off, CMS will host its first Medication Safety Campaign National Learning & Action Network (LAN) event on Jan. 26, 2016 at 3:00 PM EST. The title of this event is: Is Patient Self-management a Key to Improved Patient Outcomes, Increased Medication Adherence and Reduced Adverse Drug Events?” The call is the first in a series of virtual events that will be held quarterly, along with other Campaign activities. Medicare beneficiaries and their families/​caregivers, health care providers, pharmacists, home health agencies, community health organizations, quality improvement professionals and others interested in medication safety are encouraged to participate in the call.

To register for the virtual event, please visit http://qualitynet.webex.com/tc and click Event Center” on the top left-hand corner. Select the Medication Safety Campaign event, located on page two of the results.

CMS Updates Measures Management System Blueprint

On Dec.18, 2015, CMS released an updated Quality Measure Development Plan (MDP) for review through March 1, 2016. CMS’ MDP serves as a blueprint for measure developers to follow when developing, implementing, and maintaining quality measures. The goal of the Blueprint is to inform measure developers how to produce high-caliber quality measures that are appropriate for accountability.

Access the draft plan here, and direct any additional questions or suggestions to the Measures Manager at MMSSupport@​Battelle.​org. The final MDP, taking into account public comments, will be posted by May 12016.