WBB's Thought Leadership

CMS Awards Contract for Quality Improvement Support to IHS Hospitals

October 17

CMS awarded a contract to provide quality improvement services to support, build, and redesign Indian Health Service hospital operating infrastructure to improve care.

Services will include data acquisition and analytics support, which will focus initially on clinical data and electronic health records, as outlined in the IHS Quality Framework.

Excerpt: “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded a new contract to help support best health care practices and other operational improvements for Indian Health Service (IHS) federal government operated hospitals that participate in the Medicare program. HealthInsight, a current Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO), will partner with IHS hospitals to continuously improve the quality of care for the Medicare patients they serve.”

“The contract will focus on leadership, staff development, data acquisition and analytics, clinical standards of care, and quality of care related to the Medicare program. CMS expects that this work, while focused on Medicare beneficiaries, will result in systemic change that improves all of the care provided at these facilities. Over the course of the contract (approximately three years), the QIN-QIO will:

  • Develop effective leaders through training and networking;
  • Build strong hospital systems through team based care and clinical quality improvement;
  • Strengthen patient, family, and tribal engagement at the project and local levels;
  • Promote and spread best practices in hospitals through Web-based Learning & Action Networks and direct technical assistance;
  • Ensure that clinical, operational, and safety standards are met or exceeded;
  • Assist with the development of hospital improvement plans; and
  • Establish baseline data to ensure plans for improvement are successful and sustainable.”

“IHS quality efforts are driven by its draft Quality Framework, developed in consultation with Tribal Leaders from July through October 2016. The IHS Quality Framework aims to develop, implement, and sustain an effective quality program that: improves patient experience and outcomes; strengthens organizational capacity; and ensures the delivery of reliable, high quality health care for IHS federal government operated facilities.”

Source: CMS

WBB Take: IHS came under fire after an OIG report on quality issues, but has taken positive steps in soliciting for help in developing and executing a quality management framework. A comprehensive quality management framework and strong leadership support for quality management are key foundational components for effective continuous improvement initiatives that target, address, and resolve risks and waste that impede achievement of organizational goals. Effective quality management has been demonstrated to result in lower costs and improved patient outcomes, and is an essential part of running a modern healthcare system.


Rachel Condy and Jerry Stefanko

Rachel Condy and Jerry Stefanko

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