Cardiac Health Q&A with Cynthia Pamon-Burnett, RN

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Cynthia Pamon-Burnett, CMS
Cynthia Pamon-Burnett, CMS

Cynthia Pamon-Burnett is a registered nurse with many years of experience in health care. Currently, she serves as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Program Lead for the QIO Program’s Healthy People, Healthy Communities: Improving the Health Status of Communities initiative. She also is the Subject Matter Expert for the Home Health Quality Improvement National Initiative. Previously at CMS, Ms. Pamon-Burnett was the lead for Program and Contract Evaluation, Disparities, the Cardiac Population Health Programs, and the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes campaign. Prior to her government service, Ms. Pamon-Burnett held various clinical positions in the private sector for close to 20 years. Ms. Pamon-Burnett is a certified case manager (CCM) and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Illinois, as well as a Masters in Health Care Administration (MSHCAD) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Maryland University College.

How are things progressing with the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations’ (QIN-QIOs) efforts to reduce cardiac health care disparities?

We’ve made progress with blood pressure control and tobacco use measures, clinician and patient engagement, resource use, and technical assistance and educational activities. Clinician and patient engagement numbers have more than doubled since the work began in 2014. 

What are some interesting or innovative strategies that QIN-QIOs have employed recently, which have shown promise?

QIN-QIOs’ partnerships at the grassroots and community levels have had a tremendous impact, especially on the African-American and Latino communities. This includes QIN-QIOs’ work with health ministries in churches and community organizations to conduct blood pressure and tobacco use screenings, as well as their educational activities directly with beneficiaries. 

What are your chief priorities in 2017?

Our QIN-QIOs will be supporting the next phase of the Million Hearts initiative. Specifically, they will work on sustainment activities that ensure that previous activities and progress in preventing heart attacks and strokes will continue to be a priority for clinicians and various other partners and stakeholders. 

Tell us about the QIO Program’s latest collaboration with the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Initiative.

The QIN-QIOs have had great success engaging with home health agencies to work on heart attack and stroke prevention across the country. Measurable improvements have been demonstrated with blood pressure control and tobacco use screening and cessation counseling. 

With encouragement from QIN-QIOs, clinical participants are completing online, on-demand cardiac courses for continuing education units (CEUs) through the HHQI University. 

Since partnering with the QIN-QIOs, downloads of the Best Practice Intervention Practices (BPIPs) focused on cardiovascular health have increased, essentially doubling from two years ago. 

How are QIN-QIOs supporting Million Hearts’ Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model, which kicked off in January?

The model seeks to identify populations most at risk, as well as successful prevention and population health interventions for a number of variables that impact heart attacks and strokes. The QIN-QIOs are promoting interventions related to appropriate aspirin use, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking screening and cessation. It is through the QIN-QIOs’ work that successful interventions may be identified, and these interventions may be used to sustain improvement efforts, whether or not the QIN-QIOs are involved. 

Anything else you would like QIO News readers to know?

Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death and disability in the United States according to the American Heart Association. The QIN-QIOs play an invaluable role to help decrease these numbers by providing boots-on-the ground support to clinicians and beneficiaries throughout the country, helping save lives.