CMS Quality Conference Q&A with Patrick Conway

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Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, CMS
Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, CMS

Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, is the Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality & CMS Chief Medical Officer. He leads the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) at CMS. CCSQ is responsible for all quality measures for CMS, value-based purchasing programs, quality improvement programs in all 50 states, clinical standards and survey and certification of Medicare and Medicaid health care providers across the nation, and all Medicare coverage decisions for treatments and services. The center’s budget exceeds $2 billion annually and is a major force for quality and transformation across Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and the U.S. health care system. The CMS Innovation Center is responsible for testing numerous new payment and service delivery models across the nation.

Q. How long have you been involved with the CMS Quality Conference, and what are the key changes you’ve seen over the years?

I have been involved with the conference for six years now, and it is incredible to see how it has progressed. Participation has grown significantly, which is really inspiring because I think the cross-pollination of ideas and best practices is critical in our work. We also now involve programs across Medicare, Medicaid and the CMS Innovation Center, which is exciting. But perhaps most importantly, I have seen enthusiasm about the conference rise among attendees — before, during and after the conference. Health care quality stakeholders are coming excited and ready to share about the impact they and their organizations are making in their communities, and they are eager to learn about how to use innovative approaches to better improve health outcomes for persons and families.

Q. What new or different things can we expect to see or hear at this year’s conference?

I think this year’s conference theme, Aligning for Innovation and Outcomes,” is spot on and will really drive the conversation throughout the conference. Specifically, I think attendees can expect to see a major focus on how we scale health care quality improvements that are working and how we can take what is working to the next level.

Q. As a clinician who is still practicing, what is most meaningful to you about this annual event?

As a practicing physician, it is powerful to see all of the various participants — from providers and policymakers to beneficiaries — come together around a common cause: making our health care system better, safer and more person-centered. Health care is a multifaceted issue with a lot of stakeholders, so it is critical for us to work together as a team. The CMS Quality Conference is a perfect venue for bringing stakeholders together to have serious conversations about how we advance our work in a collaborative way. Every patient deserves the safest, highest quality, patient-centered care.

Q. Looking ahead, what are some of CMS’ priorities for 2017 that will shape the future work of the Quality Networks?

CMS will continue to focus on quality improvement and value-based payment in the coming years. Safety will also be a key focus. We will continue to work to incentivize and promote quality over quantity, and we will work hand in hand with clinicians and patients to ensure transformation evolves in a way that is meaningful for all provider settings and patients. 

Q. Anything else you would like conference attendees and QIO News readers to know?

CMS is grateful for the partnerships, transparent collaboration and the willingness to work as one team toward a common goal. I am looking forward to meeting new partners, learning about innovative practices and sharing my vision for CMS in 2017

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