Quality Conference Day 1: How Purpose and Partnership Can Help Reduce Harm, Improve Quality and Save Lives

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Pictured: CMS’ Dr. Paul McGann and Jean Moody-Williams with community awardees in the audience
Pictured: CMS’ Dr. Paul McGann and Jean Moody-Williams with community awardees in the audience

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Services Resilience, partnership, engagement and recognition were all major themes for the first day (Dec. 13, 2016) of the 2016 Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services’ (CMS) Quality Conference, held in Baltimore.

In his opening remarks, Dennis Wagner, director of CMS’ Quality Improvement and Innovation Group, highlighted not only how the conference had grown to over 2,400 attendees but the increase in collaboration among the Quality Improvement Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs), Beneficiary and Family-Centered Care-Quality Improvement Organizations (BFCC-QIOs), state programs, federal partners, provider organizations and patients and family members.

Over the course of the last five or six years… we have a whole new level of synergy and collaboration that is occurring across the country,” said Wagner. And much of it is a direct result of the way our Quality Improvement Networks are working with each other and modeling the very behaviors we want to see more of in the U.S. health care system.”

But there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done, according to Wagner. These challenges include ensuring eligible clinicians participate in the Quality Payment Program, increasing the involvement of patients and families in improvement work, and recruiting 40,000 more clinicians into the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) program, among others.

Patients and families need to be involved in all aspects of care.”

Following Wagner’s remarks, Jean Moody-Williams, deputy director of CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ), announced the new CMS Person and Family Engagement Strategy, which will serve as a framework for the implementation of person and family engagement strategies in CMS programs. According to Moody-Williams, the guide — which was developed over the past 18 months — represents CMS’ commitment to person and family engagement.

These goals look at not just health care in the setting and in silos, but in the communities in which we live; connecting with community organizations; shared decision making; [and] engagement in our policy and practices,” she said. Patients and families need to be involved in all aspects of care.”

Following the panel, Dr. Kate Goodrich, director of CCSQ and CMS chief medical officer, provided an overview of the new Quality Payment Program. She explained that CMS’ approach in developing this program was different from other value-based purchasing programs.

We got out of our offices…and we went into doctors’ and nurses’ offices to talk to them. We heard from them about what was working and what isn’t working - what expectations that we’re putting on clinicians are realistic, and which ones aren’t,” she said. It was not always easy to hear what they had to say…but it was important for us to hear.” 

According to Goodrich, now that the program has been developed, the next step is ensuring that clinicians participate. CMS has an ambitious goal of achieving 90 percent participation in the QPP, and QIN-QIOs will be a key partner in helping CMS achieve that goal.

Next, Vikki Wachino, deputy administrator and director, CMS’ Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, discussed the importance of new quality measures for the Medicaid and CHIP programs, which cover more than 70 million Americans. She also focused on the need to maintain and increase health insurance coverage, saying coverage is the foundation of quality.”

The final portion of the plenary sessions focused on recognition for service. Ned Holland of the Partnership for Public Service discussed the Federal Employees of the Year award presented to Dr. Paul McGann, Jean Moody-Williams and Dennis Wagner for their work in developing the Partnership for Patients, which has helped save 87,000 lives and $20 billion. 

He also recognized the role of those in the audience, including patient advocates like Bob and Barb Malizzo, who lost their daughter to a preventable medical error.

Today, we celebrate the outcomes that all of you generated that resulted in the Employee of the Year award.”

Watch the full day one plenary here.