Professionals serving professionals: AFMC working to help hone processes, improve care The Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care is the Quality Improvement Organization for Medicare and Medicaid in Arkansas. AFMC wo rks collaboratively with providers, community groups and other stakeholders to promote the quality of care in Arkansas through evaluation and education. For more information about AFMC quality improvement projects, call 1-877-375-5700.
A CLOSER LOOK AT QUALITY E DITORIAL P ANEL : W ILLIAM E. G OLDEN , MD; N ANCY A RCHER , RN, BS, CPHQ; N ENA S ANCHEZ , MS H igh-quality health care cannot be legislated, mandated or sermonized into existence. It must be cultivated, nurtured and transformed by providers, patients and society in general 4 through shared successes and lessons learned, hon- est self-assessment and innovative, targeted action.
Physicians and others across the state are actively engaged in that process, and the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC), the state 9s quality improvement organization for Medicare and Medicaid, is working to support their efforts and create an environment conducive to their success. AFMC works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services 9 Division of Medical Services on a ... more. less.
wide range of projects and services for our state 9s health care community. Projects and activities are backed by research and constantly tailored to help Arkansas health care providers identify opportunities, close gaps and improve work?ow, relationships and outcomes.<br><br> Services for physician of>ces, hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies include: Regional seminars for speci>c health care settings and goals, as well as smaller group meetings and, for some settings, regular telecon- ferences and faxed updates. On-site quality improvement con- sultation and academic detailing. Web site with information for providers, consumers and others.<br><br> On-line continuing education opportunities and tracking. Free provider-to-patient educational products on timely topics such as diabetes, pressure ulcer prevention and healthy eating, as well as chart reminder stickers and other tools for clinical staff. Quality Focus and MMCS Update newsletters and other publications for speci>c health care settings.<br><br> Multi-media public outreach to support provider communication (Medicare Talk newsletter, radio and print advertisement, public awareness campaigns). AFMC offers additional products and services speci>c to health care set- tings. Visit www.afmc.org and click on the appropriate setting.<br><br> Physician o9ces Most of AFMC 9s services and products for physician of>ces fall under three domains: quality improvement, health information technology (HIT) and cultural competency. Quality improvement projects focus on preventive health, diabetes, asthma, antibiotic use and benzodiazepines, among other topics. Process redesign assistance and on-site trouble-shooting help clinicians and staff set and reach speci>c goals for improving care.<br><br> Health information technology specialists offer help evaluating needs and capabilities, selecting the right electronic health record system, and re>ning processes to improve ef>ciency and patient care. EHR vendor fairs, held at critical times when participating physician of>ces are selecting EHR systems, offer a chance to compare systems >rst-hand. (Invitations are provided to participating clinics.) Cultural competency training and services help primary care provid- ers overcome language and cultural barriers to improve compliance, outcomes and relationships.<br><br> Speci>c services for physician of>ces are designed to support these three domains and to help physicians improve care and streamline processes. On-site consultation and support: AFMC quality improvement specialists and provider representatives from the divisions of Medicaid Managed Care Services (MMCS) and the Of>ce of Projects and Analysis (OPA) call on providers to answer questions and distribute information and patient education tools. Quarterly PCP pro7le reports: At-a-glance details on individual BY NANCY ARCHER, RN A C L O S E R L O O K A T Q U A L I T Y A CLOSER LOOK AT QUALITY A C L O S E R L O O K A T Q U A L I T Y costs and utilization allow comparison with other providers.<br><br> Hospitals Arkansas 9 hospitals are committed to improving health care and its deliv- ery, as evidenced by our state 9s improved national ranking on more than 20 qual- ity improvement measures for hospitals 4 from 49th in 2003 to 35th in 2005. To help maintain this momentum, AFMC offers a wide range of tools and resources for hospitals. Collaborative Area Learning Ses- sions (CALS) are held twice each year to accelerate improvement in measurement and reporting, advancing use of health informa- tion technology, redesigning health care processes and transforming organizational cultures.<br><br> E-group and listserv interaction keeps hospitals in touch and up-to- date and encourages communica- tion and support. HIT consultation helps hospi- tals bring systems up-to-date and improve the ?ow of information within the health care system 4 an important step toward the national goal of an interlinked health information network. Hospital data collection.<br><br> AFMC is working with hospitals to submit data to the QIO clinical warehouse. Hospitals can benchmark with others nationwide through the QualityNet (QNet) Exchange at www.qnetexchange.org . Frequent communication through the Arkansas Hospital Asso- ciation: Our partnership with the AHA helps both organizations and the hospitals they serve reach shared goals.<br><br> Nursing homes Nursing homes are challenged with providing long-term care for residents with multiple health conditions and high susceptibility to complications and treatment side effects. Nursing homes also must serve as true homes, a responsibility that entails meeting social, mental, emotional and physical needs. AFMC recognizes the enormity of this role and works to help long- term care providers >nd ways to improve care, enhance quality of life and retain a competent and dedicated work force.<br><br> Services include: Individualized help improving performance on the 15 pub- licly reported measures as part of Medicare 9s Nursing Home Quality Initiative, including pressure ulcer prevention, use of restraints, depres- sion and pain management. Consultation and other services for Medicaid-certi7ed nursing homes, offered through the Arkansas Innovative Performance Program (AIPP) , a division of AFMC. AFMC works with the Arkansas Health Care Association (AHCA), the Of>ce of Long Term Care and other partners to steer statewide efforts.<br><br> Home health agencies AFMC works with home health agencies to improve care through the national Home Health Outcome Based Quality Improvement (OBQI) System. Under OBQI, quality is measured against the ultimate yardstick 4 patient outcomes. Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) reports are used to help set goals and specify objectives.<br><br> AFMC is working with home health agencies to improve medication management and acute care hospital- ization rates, as well as performance in all the CMS-driven quality measures currently reported on Medicare 9s con- sumer Web site. Some efforts include: Individualized help forming a plan of action based on OASIS data. Help maintaining staff motivation throughout projects.<br><br> OBQI training materials available on-line. Continued support Health care, its culture and delivery will continue to evolve as new technology emerges, knowledge increases and the needs of our diverse population change. As a partner in this process, AFMC 9s role will evolve as well, but its mission remains 4 provid- ing the tools, resources and support to maintain an effective, ef>cient health care system for all Arkansans.<br><br> To learn more about how AFMC can help health care providers and the people they serve, call 1-877-375-5700 or visit www.afmc.org/professionals and click on the appropriate setting. To order free tools for staff and patients, visit www.afmc.org/tools . For dates of conferences and other events, visit www.afmc.org/events .<br><br> For CE opportunities and tracking, visit www.afmc.org/ce . ² Save this date: May 4, 2006 Health information technology Strategies for improving outcomes The latest developments in Medicaid Medicare/Medicaid review 13th Annual Quality Conference presented by AFMC Peabody Hotel in Little Rock " $25 registration fee Join health care professionals from across the state, earn CE credit and learn about: Call 1-877-375-5700, ext. 650, or visit www.afmc.org/qualityconference .<br><br>