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e-News | April 2014

e-News | Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum - February 2014

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LaPOST Coalition’s NHDD Social Media Campaign Underway

For the second consecutive year, the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) Coalition is partnering in the National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) initiative to increase awareness about advance care planning. This year, the Coalition is taking the lead in a special social media campaign to promote NHDD, LaPOST and advance care planning.
This campaign, ‘Have the Conversation,’ is very simple: leading up to April 16 – the official date of NHDD - the LaPOST Coalition is asking people to take ‘selfies’ with their loved ones while holding a sign that reads, ‘We had the conversation!’ These selfies are then shared via the LaPOST Facebook and Twitter feeds.
To participate in the campaign, follow the instructions below:
  • For Facebook, please post selfies to the LaPOST Facebook page here:
  • For Twitter, please Tweet selfies to @LouisianaPOLST using the following two hashtags: #NHDD and #LaPOST.
  • For participants who are not active on either Facebook or Twitter, email selfies to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Nearly 100 Practices Working Toward PCMH Recognition
A total of 92 practices across Louisiana are now actively working toward recognition as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) with the assistance of the Quality Forum’s PCMH team.

The Quality Forum was approved as a ‘Sponsoring Organization’ in July 2012 by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). This designation enables the organization to extend a special discount to medical practices seeking NCQA recognition as PCMHs. The PCMH team also assists practices with NCQA applications for recognition.

In addition, the Quality Forum can assist practices seeking accreditation from the NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Program (PCSP), the NCQA Back Pain Recognition Program, the NCQA Heart/Stroke Recognition Program and the Diabetes Recognition Programs.

The team also supports practices that are working toward PCMH recognition from The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit organization that certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S., as well as other accrediting bodies.

To aid providers in the PCMH transformation process, the Quality Forum offers several key specialized services, including:
  • PCMH assessment
  • Training
  • Practice and workflow redesign
  • Project management
  • Education and outreach
  • Quality assurance and quality improvement plan design/development
  • Templates for policies and procedures
  • Health coach services (on-site and virtual)

To learn more about the PCMH services available through the Quality Forum, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 225.334.9299.

LaPOST Ready Begins April 16 In Monroe Region

The LaPOST Coalition, in collaboration with St. Francis Medical Center, will kick off its third ‘LaPOST Ready’ campaign in Monroe, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., on April 16 with a special event at Bayou DeSiard Country Club, located at 3501 Forsythe Ave.
The LaPOST Ready campaigns, held previously in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, are designed to provide LaPOST education and improve LaPOST awareness to specific audiences in target areas of the state. The third campaign will focus on the northeast portion of Louisiana.
The Coalition has timed the campaign to coincide with National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), a national initiative held annually on April 16 to increase awareness about the value of advance care planning. This is the second year for the Coalition to partner in the NHDD initiative, says Susan Nelson, MD, Chair.
“We seek to increase the number of Louisiana residents who have completed advance care planning by educating and empowering the public with information about the available resources, including the LaPOST document, advance directives and health care power of attorney documents,” says Nelson.
To register to attend the LaPOST Ready kickoff event and workshop, click here. To learn more about NHDD, click here.

More Than 681K Unique Patient Records In LaHIE

The Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) now includes more than 681,000 unique patient records, says Brian Richmond, Chief Technology Officer for the Quality Forum.

“This means there are nearly 700,000 Louisiana residents who now have patient data stored in the statewide health information exchange,” says Richmond.
In addition, LaHIE has recorded an average of more than 32 million transactions per month, according to Richmond, who adds that currently, there are more than 180 health care companies and organizations enrolled in LaHIE.
“To date, 45 facilities are live, and 100 facilities are actively onboarding,” he says. “LaHIE’s numbers continue to grow on a daily basis as its reach widens across the state.”

To review a current list of LaHIE participants, click here.

LHIT Resource Center Cited In REC Study

The Louisiana Health Information Technology (LHIT) Resource Center, the state’s Regional Extension Center (REC), was cited in, “REC Program Evaluation Interim Report: Round 1 Case Studies,” a report submitted in January to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) by the American Institutes for Research (AIR).
AIR conducted in-depth case studies of nine of the nation’s 62 REC programs and summarized in its report several key findings related to how these RECs operationalize and implement their programs. AIR selected the nation’s three highest performing RECs and the three lowest performing RECs with an additional three RECs selected by ONC based on commendable work with particular client types. The LHIT Resource Center was among the nine programs chosen for inclusion in the AIR report.
The report’s findings focused on structures and operational models; outreach and recruitment activities; technical assistance activities; and common challenges. In several sections of the report, the LHIT Resource Center is cited in reference to its partnership with the Arkansas REC and its business model.
In its summary, the report notes the emergence of three best practice models for RECs:
  • Brokering and sustaining strong partnerships with key stakeholders, such as quality improvement organizations (QIOs), health information exchanges (HIEs) and other organizations;
  • Using technical staff who have a mix of IT skills, an understanding of clinical practice and general business management skills; and
  • Working with a champion to initiate and sustain providers’ engagement in the process.
The report noted also that one of the most significant challenges faced by RECs is “poor electronic health record (EHR) usability and the unsavory business practices of some vendors.”
According to the report, “An important factor in the overall efficacy of the REC program will likely be the speed at which EHR product usability improves…the availability of high-quality EHR products is an important consideration in assessing the success of the REC program.”
To read the full report by AIR, click here.

Munn To Speak At Cajun CodeFest

Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn will be among the speakers at the 2014 Cajun CodeFest in Lafayette, La., April 23-25.
The three-day coding competition is the signature event for the Center for Business and Information Technologies (CBIT) at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL). The event, now in its third year, is open to all students and professionals in the areas of software development and health care or business strategy industries. These teams compete for cash prizes and opportunities to present their ideas on the national level.
This year’s competition is themed, “Aging in Place.” Teams are invited to use their unique talents to develop innovative solutions that can assist people in living at home longer and more safely. A sub-theme to the event will be, “Internet of Things,” and focuses on how uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations can help people to age in place.
In addition to the coding competition, the event also features a number of plenary sessions with local, state and national speakers. For the second consecutive year, Munn will be among these featured speakers. She will present an overview of the Quality Forum with special focus on the development and growth of LaHIE.
Other speakers at the event will include:
  • Kathy Kliebert, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH);
  • Bryan Sivak, Chief Technology Officer, US Health and Human Services (HHS);
  • Angelica Baltazar, Global Health and Human Services Specialist, Esri;
  • Mark Blatt, MD, MBA, Worldwide Medical Director and Enterprise Solutions Sales, Intel; and
  • Jeff Makowka, Senior Strategic Advisor, Thought Leadership, AARP.
To learn more about Cajun CodeFest or to register to attend, click here.


REC Assistance Available To Medicaid Specialists

The Louisiana Health Information Technology (LHIT) Resource Center continues to provide outreach, technical and support services to Medicaid specialists. 

The Medicaid Specialists Program is designed specifically for providers who were previously ineligible for support from the REC for meaningful use (MU) initiatives offered by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Specialists who are eligible for assistance through this program must meet certain criteria, including the 30 percent patient threshold established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

Specialist physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and certain physician assistants are among those eligible for participation. For more information about the program, click here, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 225.334.9299.

ONC Releases 2014 Edition Test Method Updates

ONC has released updates to its 2014 Edition Test Method, which was formally approved in December 2012 and is now effective for use in the ONC Health IT Certification Program.
The program provides guidelines to ensure that EHR technologies meet specific criteria to help providers and hospitals achieve MU objectives established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Certification is designed to provide assurance to purchasers that EHR systems offer the necessary functions required by MU measures.
To learn more about the certification program, or to review the 2014 Edition Test Method, click here.

Vanguard Program Seeks Health IT Champions

ONC is seeking health IT champions to participate in its Health IT Fellows Program.
The Health IT Fellows program is designed to provide grassroots insight and feedback on ONC initiatives. Fellows are clinical and/or administrative champions in their practices, serving as advanced primary care providers and administrators knowledgeable in the use of health IT to drive care delivery transformation.
The goal of the program is to share successes and connect like-organizations in a nationwide peer-to-peer learning network. Currently, the program includes 50 provider and administrator champions from 28 states.
To get involved in the program, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a brief overview of your organization’s journey to Meaningful Use and how you leverage health IT daily in your practice. To learn more about the Health IT Fellows Program, click here.

CMS Issues 2014 CEHRT Hardship Exception Guidelines

CMS issued guidance in March for eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) that are unable to implement the 2014 Edition of Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CERHT) in time to successfully demonstrate MU for the 2014 reporting year.
The CEHRT Hardship Exception Guidance for Eligible Professionals notes that Medicare EHR Incentive Program payment adjustments are applied in 2016 for the 2014 reporting year for health care providers who demonstrated MU in a previous year. New participants in the 2014 reporting year may also apply for an exception to the 2015 payment adjustment, according to the rule. New participants must apply for the exception no later than July 1, 2014. Returning Meaningful Users must apply by July 1, 2015.
The CERHT Hardship Exception Guidance for Eligible Hospitals sets application deadlines of April 1, 2015, for returning Meaningful Users. The deadline for new participants in 2014 expired on April 1, 2014.
For specific details, visit the individual links above.
CMS also lists on its website several important 2014 EHR participation deadlines:
  • Sept. 30, 2014: End of 2014 fiscal year and end of the 2014 reporting period for eligible hospitals.
  • Nov. 30, 2014, at 11:59 p.m.: Attestation deadline for Medicare eligible hospitals for the 2014 program year.
  • Dec. 31, 2014: End of 2014 calendar year and end of the 2014 reporting period for eligible professionals.
Click here to learn more about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and upcoming deadlines.

    • Susan Nelson, MD, LaPOST Coalition Chair, was among the featured speakers at the 2014 National Association of Social Workers-Louisiana Chapter Spring Conference.
    • Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge andHealthcare Journal of New Orleans published in their March/April 2014 editions an article by Cindy Munn, Quality Forum CEO. The article detailed the efforts of the LaPOST Coalition to increase awareness of advance care planning in Louisiana. The article included information about the Coalition’s partnership inNational Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) and featured interviews with Susan Nelson, MD, LaPOST Coalition Chair;Alexandria Leigh, MD, palliative care physician with Southeastern Louisiana Veterans Healthcare Administration; and Michael Rolfsen, MD, a Baton Rouge internist. Read the article here.
    • published on March 15, 2014, the announcement that Daniel Burke, Director of Corporate Benefits for Turner Industries, has been named to the Quality Forum’s Board of Directors. Read the article here. The announcement also appeared on Louisiana News Feed, the Healthcare Journal of New Orleans, the Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge and
    • The Community Healthcare Education Network of Northwest Louisiana (CHEN-NWLA), in its Knowledge and Skills Improvement in Senior Healthcare” education session on March 18, included a presentation about LaPOST. The presentation, by Lee Aronson, JD, included an overview of Louisiana law as it pertains to power of attorney, living wills and LaPOST.

    • TheQuality Forum will be among the exhibitors at the 2014 Louisiana Nursing Home Association Spring Conference and Trade Show, May 12-14, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge. To review the complete event agenda, click here.
    • Susan Nelson, MD, Chair of the LaPOST Coalition, spoke in March at the 177th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana. The Diocese included a brief summary of Nelson’s remarks on its Facebook page and provided a link to the LaPOST video about advance care planning.
    • TheQuality Forum will be exhibiting at the Senior Health and Fitness Expo, April 15, at the Horseshoe Casino and Resort in Bossier City, La. The expo is held in conjunction with the 2014 Northwest Louisiana Senior Olympics. Read more about the event here.
    • LaPOST was referenced in the 2014 print edition of Delta Health. The article, “Planning eases family stress of elderly health decisions,” described the uses of LaPOST and includes an interview with St. Francis Medical Center ethicist Tim Cotita, who advised patients to document their wishes through the appropriate advance care planning document.
    • Dr. David Carmouche, a Quality Forum Board of Directors member, was recognized in the March/April 2014 edition of the Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge. The article noted that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has promoted Carmouche to the position of Executive Vice President of External Operations and Chief Medical Officer. He was previously the organization’s Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. Read the article here.

    • Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge published in its March/April 2014 edition an article detailing theMedicaid Specialists Program offered by the LHIT Resource Center. The article included the comments of Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Manager for the Quality Forum. Read the article here.

    FYI: Kayla Wernet | Graphic Designer

    As Graphic Designer for the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, Kayla Wernet handles the concept, creation and execution of design projects that communicate the organization’s message and enhance its visual brand identity across media platforms, including print, web and digital.
    Prior to joining the Quality Forum, Kayla worked with The Advocate as a graphic designer for nine years, where she was recognized numerous times for excellence in print promotions, advertising and sales promotion packaging. Her responsibilities at The Advocate included the design of both print and web advertising, development of marketing campaigns and promotional materials, special project management and pagination.
    She is a 2005 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., and earned a Management Incubator Certification in 2010 from Success Labs in Baton Rouge.

    e-News aims to bring you a monthly summary of news about the Forum, its initiatives and related topics as we work together to shape health care in Louisiana. Your comments regarding current stories as well as ideas for future content are appreciated. Please address your feedback to Linda Morgan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..