N.J. Associations and QIO Take Lead in Home Care Campaign to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations and Improve Medication Management

Friday, January 22, 2010 Education News
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TRENTON, N.J., Jan. 21 The New Jersey Hospital Association, the Home Care Association of NJ and Healthcare Quality Strategies Inc. are serving as New Jersey's liaisons for the Local Area Networks for Excellence (LANE) as part of the new national home health quality improvement campaign launched on Jan. 13. As key partners, the three organizations will create campaign awareness, provide participant encouragement and facilitate communication among agencies.

National home care and healthcare leaders kicked off the 18-month Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign on Jan. 13 at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) headquarters in Baltimore.

The initiative is a grassroots movement designed to unite home health stakeholders and multiple healthcare settings under a shared vision of reducing avoidable hospitalizations and improving medication management. These goals will be accomplished through the distribution of tools, resources, guidelines, information and best practice education to home health agencies across the country that agree to participate.

"Quality healthcare for people with Medicare is a high priority for CMS," said Jean Moody-Williams, RN, MPP, director of CMS' Quality Improvement Group. "We are pleased to see such a diverse mix of home care and cross-setting stakeholders working together to improve patient care and achieve our vision for the right care for every person every time."

"NJHA sees this campaign as an opportunity for New Jersey's home health agencies to learn and lead as they strive to focus on improving the patient's experience of care and overall outcome. We enthusiastically support the campaign's goal of creating partnerships between home health agencies, acute care hospitals and other providers," said Theresa Edelstein, NJHA's vice president of continuing care services.

The Home Care Association's CEO Sherl Brand said, "The HHQI campaign is a logical and important next step in our work to improve quality in home healthcare. Just as important is the campaign's focus on continuing to bridge the gaps between the various healthcare sectors. It is integral for New Jersey home health agencies to be part of this important endeavor."

According to Andrew Miller, MD, MPH, co-leader of the HQSI-sponsored New Jersey Care Transitions Project, "We're excited to join in promoting the Home Health Quality Initiative, which builds on proven best practices to reduce avoidable acute care hospitalizations for home care patients. HQSI currently is working with home health agencies and other providers on a pilot project to improve care transitions for Medicare patients in Burlington and Camden Counties as they move between healthcare settings. This initiative addresses basic processes of care that have an impact on care transitions."

Over 5,000 home health agencies were a part of the 2007 Home Health Quality Improvement National Campaign. Involved agencies worked throughout the year to reduce avoidable hospitalizations. The 2010 Campaign is a continuation and expansion of that effort.

Over 300 people representing Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs), healthcare industry leaders, home health agencies, and CMS attended the kick-off summit. Speakers at the event included Dr. Steven Landers, director of the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Home Care and Community Rehabilitation, Dr. David Wenner, medical director for Quality Insights of Pennsylvania, the Medicare QIO for Pennsylvania; and various members of CMS leadership.

Click here for more information about the campaign. www.homehealthquality.org.

The New Jersey Hospital Association, based in Princeton, is the statewide advocate for its 108 member hospitals and the patients they serve.

The Home Care Association of NJ is a non-profit, statewide trade association that represents home care and hospice agencies throughout New Jersey. The Home Care Association fulfills its mission to serve as the catalyst for excellence in home care and hospice by providing information, education, assistance and advocacy for New Jersey's providers and the people they serve. Please visit www.homecarenj.org.

Healthcare Quality Strategies Inc. (HQSI), working under contract with CMS, is the nonprofit Medicare quality improvement organization for New Jersey. It partners with healthcare providers, organizations, communities and consumers to make healthcare safer, more efficient and more effective. Its methods include assessing opportunities for improvement, sharing best practices and designing strategies with measurable and sustainable results. Its goal is for consumers to receive high-quality, patient-centered care with the best possible outcomes.

SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association

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