Tuesday, October 18, 2016
In Practice 
Tips, Tools & Education for Improving Outpatient Care
Call us inventive, expert, creative or reliable, but not VHQC. We are now...
Effective October 17, 2016, VHQC has rebranded to become Health Quality Innovators (HQI). T he new identity better reflects our company's expanding service area and talented team, plus provides greater clarity about our role in the evolving health care industry.

"The name Health Quality Innovators expresses our longstanding commitment to improving health care, as well as the fresh insights we bring to that challenge," said HQI President and CEO Donald A. Glozer, MHA, FACHE. "Better care, healthier people and smarter health care spending are our primary aims."

Read about the big news at our refreshed website at www.hqi.solutions. 
CMS News
HHS Finalizes MACRA Quality Payment Program that Rewards Quality Patient Care

Last week, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) finalized a  rule implementing the Quality Payment Program  (QPP) that was established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said MACRA replaces the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and will equip clinicians with the tools and flexibility to provide high-quality, patient-centered care. 

"Today, we're proud to put into action Congress' bipartisan vision of a Medicare program that rewards clinicians for delivering quality care to their patients," said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. "Designed with input from thousands of clinicians and patients across the country, the new Quality Payment Program will strengthen our health care system for patients, clinicians and the American taxpayer."

Visit the new interactive Quality Payment Program website. Read the blog post by CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. 
Physician Compare Preview Period is Open

As of October 12, the Physician Compare 30-day preview period opened to allow clinicians and group practices to review select 2015 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures and Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) for PQRS measures before they are publicly reported on the Physician Compare website. Preview period is an opportunity to preview your performance scores as they will appear on your Physician Compare profile page later this year.

You can access the secured preview site through the PQRS portal-Provider Quality Information Portal ( PQIP ).

Learn more about how your scores may be publicly reported on Physician Compare at an upcoming public reporting information session set for this Thursday, October 20 at 3 PM ET.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host the webinar about public reporting and the  Physician Compare website, and will offer stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions about public reporting on Physician Compare and this year's preview period. 
Click here to register.
Provider Resources
Infographic Shows Benefits of Self-Measured Blood Pressure Monitoring

An interactive infographic, from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, can be used to inform health care providers about SMBP, the burden of high blood pressure, and the medical and financial advantages of an SMBP monitoring program.  View the infographic .

Immunization Action Coalition Releases "Needle Tips" October Issue

The October issue of Needle Tips is now available online. This issue also contains important recommendation information from the CDC regarding the LAIV, FluMist. Read the issue here

TCPI Continuing Medical Education Module Available

A new Continuing Medical Education (CME/CE) module is now available for providers. Click here to access the module under Medscape Continuing Education.
Description: This expert column reviews the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) of the CMS Innovation Center. This initiative is a large-scale health transformation project that supports clinicians/practices in sharing, adapting, and developing comprehensive quality improvement strategies. 
Credits: Interested health care providers can earn credits upon completion of this online educational activity. Physicians may earn a maximum of 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s).
Free HQI Webinar
Physician to Discuss Improving Opioid Outcomes and Safety
Dr. Don Teater
Thursday, October 27 from noon to 1 PM

Join Dr. Don Teater, from Teater Health Solutions, who will discuss the relative effectiveness of common pain medications and examine alternative treatments for pain in both inpatient and outpatient settings that will improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs. 

Dr. Teater's work in the southern Appalachian Mountains has helped make him aware of the problems with opioid pain medications, and in 2004, he started a clinic to treat those who are addicted to opioids in his community.

Continuing Education: ACPE # 0278-0000-16-029-L01-P
1.0 Contact Hours (0.10 CEU) for Pharmacists
Knowledge Based

Click  here  to register.
Free HQI Resource
On Demand Webinar Discusses Using Patient Demographic Data to Address Health Disparities

Despite the many advances in healthcare, racial and ethnic minorities continue to experience health disparities, resulting in higher costs, lower quality of care and poor health outcomes. Listen as Megan Douglas, JD and Dr. Dominic Mack from the National Center for Primary Care identify strategies to collect and use demographic data to eliminate disparities. Access the recording here
Non-HQI Events
Free Behavioral Health Town Hall Meeting in Maryland on Wednesday

Wednesday, October 19 from 10 AM to 1:30 PM ET

The Baltimore County Department of Health will hold its 17 th Annual Behavioral Health Town Hall Meeting and Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 19 at Oregon Ridge Park's Lodge (13401 Beaver Dam Road) in Cockeysville, Maryland.
The purpose of this event is to provide participants with information about tobacco cessation and peer recovery support while:
  • Learning about behavioral health resources in Baltimore County.
  • Receiving information and resources on wellness and health-related topics from panelists.
  • Participating in a question and answer open forum.
  • Hearing from keynote speaker Carlos DiClemente, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
The event is free and open to the public. For additional information about this event, contact Venus Rankin-Waters, LCSW-C with the Department of Health at 410-887-3828 or  vrankin-waters@baltimorecountymd.gov .
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This material was prepared by Health Quality Innovators (HQI), the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization for Maryland and Virginia, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy.