Q&A with LCDR Fred Butler, Jr.: CMS Quality Conference

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Photo of Lieutenant Commander Fred Butler, Jr.
Lieutenant Commander Fred Butler, Jr., CMS

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Fred Butler Jr. is a senior advisor for integration and quality at the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) where he also serves as a contracting officer representative for the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, which works with clinician practices to advance the development, adoption and sharing of comprehensive quality improvement strategies. LCDR Butler has worked under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for over 20 years managing public health and quality improvement programs. Prior to his current role, LCDR Butler was a staff lead, senior contract officer representative and improvement leader at CMS. He also served as a public health advisor for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) from 1995 through 2012. He received a bachelor of arts degree in international affairs, as well as master of public health and master of business administration degrees, all from The George Washington University.

Q. As a longtime public health official with HHS, how long have you been involved with the CMS Quality Conference? 

I have been involved with​the CMS Quality Conference since 2013. My role in these meetings has transitioned from being a participant to managing plenary development, content development for large network-wide tracks and leading collaborative development of master classes.

For the 2018 CMS Quality Conference, I’ve been involved in the planning stages and in training session presenters on how to produce highly effective and action-driven sessions. I am thankful for the opportunity. Collaborating with various CMS stakeholders and incorporating feedback from past conference attendees has enabled us to improve upon the conference year after year. We live and breathe quality improvement in our conference planning. 

Q. How has the CMS Quality Conference evolved over the years?

Not only has the meeting grown in size to approximately 2,500 anticipated participants in the 2018 event, but we have also increasingly expanded our efforts to engage earlier and more often with federal and private stakeholders. We have been able to foster collaboration across multiple networks, promote the sharing of best practices, and demonstrate effective actions that have spread throughout all CMS communities. 

Q. Why is it important that the CMS Quality Conference include a much larger group of stakeholders from throughout the health care quality improvement community? 

I believe in the principle that "the answers are in the room.”​This means that we seek to create a space for various stakeholders to share what’s working and what is causing it to work. CMS and our federal, public and private partners are delivering sessions tailored to maximize sharing and learning. Our intent is to share best practices and strategies for generating results, and spread them across communities. The more stakeholders that are involved in these collaborative discussions, the more creative and actionable the solutions will be. 

Q. What types of stakeholders are expected to attend the 2018 conference? Any new participants?

For the 2018 Quality Conference, we expect participants from the CMS Quality Networks that are delivering technical assistance and support, including Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement OrganizationsBeneficiary and Family Centered Care-Quality Improvement OrganizationsEnd Stage Renal Disease NetworksHospital Improvement Innovation Networks and the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative Network.

These networks represent all aspects of the health care community, from small rural practices to specialists, hospitals, nursing homes and quality improvement organizations. We always have strong participation from beneficiary advocacy groups representing the patient voice. This year, we are expecting more participation from clinicians to hear about their progress and get their feedback on how various quality improvement programs are impacting them.

Q. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s conference?

We are excited to have the 20th U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH join us on day one. We expect to hear his vision for addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, and how to take what’s working now in local communities and scale it in an actionable, results-oriented manner. This is a session that participants won’t want to miss.