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e-News | April 2015

e-News | Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum - April 2015

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Quality Forum, Aledade Inc. Join Forces To Create Louisiana ACO

The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum has partnered with a Maryland-based company to help primary care providers in the state develop an accountable care organization (ACO).
Aledade Inc. and the Quality Forum plan to recruit a group of physicians from across the state to lead the ACO.
Co-founded in 2014 by former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (IT) Dr. Farzad Mostashari, Aledade specializes in cultivating effective ACOs that focus on delivering high-quality care to patients. Its ACOs also emphasize preventative care and feature high-value referral networks, customized technology, patient claims analysis and electronic health record (EHR) data. The company currently has ACOs established in New York, Delaware, Maryland and Arkansas.
"Family physicians have a unique connection with their patients,” said Dr. Mostashari. “They are best positioned to lead the transformation towards value-based health care, and our ACO will empower them to do so. And just like these doctors have a special relationship with their patients, the Quality Forum has a special relationship with Louisiana physicians. We’re excited to work with this team, and know this partnership will benefit Louisiana’s independent doctors, and their patients.”
Cindy Munn, Quality Forum CEO, said, “Since 2007, the Quality Forum has dedicated itself to reshaping health and health care in Louisiana. With an advanced health IT infrastructure in place, our organization supports the state’s transition from a volume-based health care system to one based on value and quality. With that in mind, we are excited to partner with Aledade to support our state’s health care providers, and we look forward to the opportunity to assist them in their efforts.”
Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director for the Quality Forum, added, “Aledade’s vision of high quality, health IT-enabled and patient-centered health care delivery mirrors our own. As the state’s REC, we’ve successfully worked to drive the adoption and meaningful use of EHRs among Louisiana’s providers, and this partnership is a continuation of those efforts. We want to empower providers with the resources, tools and technology they need to improve quality and outcomes for their patients.”
Aledade says through its partnership with the Quality Forum, the new ACO will be able to provide physicians with in-person support throughout the setup process and during its operation. The company will also work to ensure all participating doctors meet necessary ACO and meaningful use standards.
To learn more about Aledade, click here.

LaPOST Promotes National Healthcare Decisions Day

The Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) Coalition has several activities planned this month in recognition of National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) on April 16.
Susan Nelson, MD, LaPOST Coalition Chair, will be the featured guest and will lead a discussion on advance care planning April 16 during the LaPOST-NHDD Twitter chat. The session will begin at noon CST. Participants are encouraged to follow @LouisianaPOLST and use #NHDDchat to follow the conversation.
Nelson is also scheduled to appear on the local ABC affiliate WBRZ’s morning show, 2une In, on April 16 to address the importance of advance care planning and give viewers advice on how to begin having the conversation with loved ones.
In addition, Nelson has filmed a special video message that includes a call to action for families to have end-of-life care conversations and has penned a blog, explaining the importance of making one’s health care wishes known.
With the help of WBRZ, LaPOST is running two public service announcements leading up to April 16, encouraging people to discuss their treatment preferences with loved ones. To watch the first PSA, click here. To view the second PSA, click here.
Since 2008, hundreds of health care organizations have supported the initiative to increase awareness nationally about advance care planning. This year, at least 12 other organizations and health care facilities in Louisiana are participating in NHDD.
To learn more about National Healthcare Decisions Day, visit For more information about LaPOST, click here.

Quality Forum Participates In Milbank Project

The Quality Forum is partnering with the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals (DHH), the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) and the Milbank Memorial Fund in a collaboration that will use data analytics to accelerate transformation within the health care system.
Louisiana is one of eight states participating in the Milbank project. Others include Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Cindy Munn, Quality Forum CEO, says, “This collaboration presents a significant opportunity to address the challenges facing our health care system and to layout a plan for rectification. Our team is committed to developing strategies by leveraging current HIE resources to drive improvements in these areas and we anticipate seeing a positive shift toward better care and lower costs.”
To learn more about the Milbank Memorial Fund, click here. For more information about NRHI, click here.

LaPOST To Host Webinar

Health care professionals in Louisiana are invited to register for the first LaPOST webinar of 2015. Susan Nelson, MD, will be the featured speaker for the event, which will focus on the LaPOST document and advance care planning.
Physicians, nursing home administrators and social workers that participate will be eligible to earn one hour of CME credit or one hour of CEU credit.
The webinar will be held April 29 at noon CST. There is no cost to participate, but registration is required.
For more information or to register, click here.


LaHIE Touches More Than 1.2M Patient Lives

Recent figures from the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) reveal notable progress in its data transactions for the first quarter of 2015.
LaHIE currently has 115 facilities contributing data and houses more than 1.2 million unique patient records, an increase of more than 158,000 since December 2014.
To date, LaHIE has signed participation agreements with more than 250 health care organizations across the state.
Brian Richmond, Chief Technology Officer of the Quality Forum says, “These encouraging statistics are evidence that the exchange is thriving and supplying providers the technical support they need to improve workflow and care delivery.”
To review a list of LaHIE participants, click here.

Health IT Upgrades To Improve Parish Health Clinic Services

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ (DHH) is working to equip the state’s parish health clinics with a health IT framework to improve efficiency and patient care delivery. The project is being conducted through a partnership with the Quality Forum.
DHH’s Office of Public Health (OPH) says it’s in the process of replacing current applications used within the facilities with an EHR system. Officials say the new technology will help streamline services and assist with meeting Meaningful Use requirements.
“Clerical staff at the health clinics will no longer have to enter the same data elements in multiple systems, making their time more productive,” says Joseph Foxhood, OPH Director of the Center for Population Health Informatics.
He also notes that the adoption of the EHR system will lead to integration with LaHIE to strengthen care coordination between sites. “If a patient presents at one parish health clinic in the future and then presents at another, the patient’s medical information will be available to all health clinic providers, reducing duplicative testing and treatments.”
The parish health clinics originally began the EHR implementation process in 2013, which involved a needs assessment and vendor selection. The first phase of the go-live will take place later this month, with plans to be fully operational by the end of May.
Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director, says “Our state is making significant strides toward a unified, connected health care delivery system for patients. Preparing Louisiana’s parish health clinics to meet Meaningful Use requirements and to go live with LaHIE will be an exciting development, both for enhancing the quality of patient care and for improving communications between health care providers and organizations.”
Louisiana has 70 parish health clinics that provide a variety of services including reproductive health, STD and HIV treatment, children’s special health and immunizations. In 2014, these facilities treated more than 209,000 patients.

LaPOST Launches Online Store

The LaPOST website has a new service for visitors in need of advance care planning information.
LaPOST has developed an online store that allows users to order informational DVDs and to purchase consumer handbooks in bulk. There is no cost for ordering the DVDs, but customers must pay shipping and handling fees. The handbooks are sold in sets of 100 for $100 plus shipping, or 200 for $200 plus shipping. The store also offers pads of the LaPOST document, ranging in price from $10-$20 plus shipping fees.
Susan Nelson, MD, LaPOST Coalition Chair, says, “The online store allows LaPOST to expand its reach in Louisiana by providing health care professionals and caregivers with the tools they need to educate themselves and their communities about the LaPOST document and to guide their advance care planning conversations and practices in the right direction.”
To visit the LaPOST online store, click here.

CMS Issues Stage 3 Meaningful Use Proposed Rule

Health information technology (IT) officials in Washington have released the proposed rule for Stage 3 Meaningful Use (MU) for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says the Stage 3 proposed rule details new criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must meet to qualify for Medicaid EHR incentive payments. It also proposes criteria that providers must meet to avoid Medicare payment adjustments based on program performance beginning in payment year 2018.
Officials also announced the release of the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. This set of guidelines aligns with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)’s Interoperability Roadmap and is designed to incorporate more types of health IT and technology that supports various care and practice settings.
HHS says both rule proposals will give providers additional flexibility, reduce burden, drive interoperability among electronic health records and increase the focus on patient outcomes to improve care.
Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director for the Quality Forum, says, “We are pleased to learn about the release of the Stage 3 MU proposed rule, as it sets the standard for how we instruct our providers and practices on EHR adoption and implementation. We remain committed to keeping these facilities informed of new federal health IT regulations and to guide them through the MU attestation process successfully.”
The Stage 3 MU proposed rule would apply to 2017 and thereafter.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be accepting public comment on the Stage 3 proposed rule and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria through May 29, 2015.

Louisiana REC Facilities Record High MU Demonstration

ONC has released the latest data collected from Regional Extension Centers (RECs) across the US and Louisiana ranks among the top 25 states with priority primary care providers (PPCPs) and critical access/rural hospitals (CAH/RH) demonstrating meaningful use (MU) of EHRs.
In Louisiana, 90 percent of PPCPs demonstrated MU of certified EHR technology in 2014, six points above the national average. The state also recorded 86 percent (nine points above the national average) of CAH/RH enrolled in the REC as demonstrating MU last year.
Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director, says, “We are proud of the MU track record our facilities earned in the past year. These statistics reflect their commitment to incorporating health IT into their clinical workflows and their desire to improve the quality of care they provide to their patients.”
For more information on ONC’s Health IT statistics, click here.

LaHIE Seeks Feedback Through Survey

LaHIE will conduct a survey of administrators at each of its live facilities later this month.
Marcia Blanchard, Vice President of Operations for the Quality Forum, says, “We are exploring opportunities for add-ons and enhancements to LaHIE, and this survey will help us determine how to move forward with those plans and inform us on whether improvements to our current services are needed.”
To learn more about LaHIE, click here.

PCMH Initiative Leads Webinar Series

The Quality Forum’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) staff will be conducting a series of webinars through July geared toward educating health care professionals on hypertension, diabetes and medication adherence.
The team held its first round of presentations in February.
The program is being executed in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Office of Public Health and aims to improve clinical quality strategies in the treatment and tracking of those conditions.
Kelly Smith, RN, and Carmen Stellman, RN, Clinical Transformation Consultants, lead the instruction for the webinars. The next round begins on April 14 and will focus on increasing use of self-measured blood pressure.
There is no cost to participate, but pre-registration is required.
For more information or to register, contact Carmen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Kelly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Cindy Munn, Quality Forum CEO,penned an op-ed piece entitled “A Bridge to Better Health” which appeared in the Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge and the Healthcare Journal of New Orleans.
  • Brian Richmond, Chief Technology Officer for theQuality Forum, has been named president of the Center for Visual & Decision Informatics (CVDI). The center, established by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) and Drexel University in Philadelphia, works in partnership with government, industry and academia to develop the next-generation support tools and techniques that improve the way organizational information is interpreted and analyzed.
  • Robert Myer, Mayor of New Roads, issued an official proclamation observing April 16, 2015 as National Healthcare Decisions Day. The document references the state law that established LaPOST as a model for patients to outline their end-of-life care preferences.
  • The LaPOST NHDD Twitter chat was mentioned in the National POLST Paradigm’s April newsletter.
  • Healthcare Journal of New Orleans published an article April 1 about National Healthcare Decisions Day and advance care planning options for Louisiana residents. Read it here. A similar article was also published in the Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge on April 2.
  • Clinical Innovation + Technology published a story March 11 about the launch of the LaHIE Patient Portal. Read it here.
  • Action News 17 published a story March 21 about North Oaks OB/GYN earning national Patient Centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) recognition. Read it here.
  • Hospice & Palliative Care Daily published an invitation to the LaPOST NHDD Twitter chat in its April 1 edition. Find it here.
  • Louisiana Medical News published a story in its April issue about the LaHIE Patient Portal.
  • New Orleans City Business published a story March 31 about the Quality Forum’s recent partnership with Aledade to develop an ACO. Read it here.
  • Becker’s Hospital Review also published a story March 31 about the ACO announcement on its website. Read it here.
  • Teri Fontenot, President and CEO of Woman’s Hospital and Quality Forum board member, was featured in the March 31 edition of the Baton Rouge Business Report in the Voices section.


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 Jill Washington at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..