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e-News | January 2015

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

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Year In Review: Quality Forum

The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum marked many accomplishments in the last year, including the following:
  • In February, Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn and Nadine Robin, Health Information Technology (IT) Program Director, were among the speakers at the annual HIMSS Conference in Orlando, Fla. Munn’s presentation focused on the need for health information exchanges (HIEs) to understand their environments and collaborate with stakeholders to identify and implement value-added services that meet stakeholder needs. Robin’s roundtable session focused on ways for small and/or rural practices to meet the patient engagement requirements of Meaningful Use (MU).
  • In April, Munn presented at Cajun CodeFest 3.0 in Lafayette, where she gave an update on the growth of the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) and other organizational initiatives.
  • In September, the Quality Forum debuted its new website, featuring a new design with specialized portals tailored to health care consumers, providers and payers/purchasers.
  • In November, Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden issued a proclamation declaring Nov. 6 as Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum Day.
  • In November, the Center for Healthcare Transparency (CHT) selected the Quality Forum as one of 14 regional organizations to receive a grant as part of its efforts to improve the availability of health care quality and cost information across the U.S.
  • In December, the Louisiana Health Information Technology (LHIT) Resource Center reached its grant target of 1,042 health care providers demonstrating meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Year In Review: LaPOST

The Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) marked a year of great achievements and furthered its mission to spread awareness about advance care planning in 2014.
Those highlights include the following:
  • In January, LaPOST officially launched its social media pages for Facebook and Twitter to further expand education about the LaPOST document and to connect with end-of-life care professionals across the map. To date, LaPOST has 275 Twitter followers and 40 likes on Facebook.
  • In March, Susan Nelson, MD, Chair of the LaPOST Coalition, was named Vice-Chair of the National Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm Task Force (NPPTF) and its Executive Committee.
  • In April, the LaPOST Coalition kicked off its third “LaPOST Ready” campaign in Monroe. The launch of the campaign coincided with National Healthcare Decisions Day, an initiative held annually on April 16 to increase awareness about the value of advance care planning. Monroe’s event marked the third campaign LaPOST had launched in the state to provide education on the LaPOST document. A follow-up event was held in September 2014 to declare the Monroe area “LaPOST Ready.”
  • In August, LaPOST launched its fourth campaign in Covington. The area was declared LaPOST Ready in November.
  • In October, LaPOST celebrated the launch of its new website, complete with a new user-friendly layout, improved menu options and updated advance care planning materials.
  • In November, the Department of Health and Hospitals announced the LaPOST document would become part of the Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessment, a monthly report submitted by state nursing homes.
  • In December, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a grant to LaPOST to help educate nursing homes across the state on advance care planning and the LaPOST document.

LaHIE Launches Patient Portal

The LaHIE Patient Portal, a secure website that offers patients 24-hour access to their health information, has officially launched.
The patient’s health care provider must be a LaHIE participant and subscribed to the service in order to access the portal.
Patients must register with their doctors prior to gaining access. Once registered, they will be able to review their personal health information using a secure username and password. Types of information stored can include their medical history, discharge summaries, medications, immunizations, and lab results.
CEO Cindy Munn expressed her excitement about the portal’s launch, saying, “The LaHIE Patient Portal presents a unique opportunity for patients to become proactive in monitoring and managing their health. We hope the portal encourages patients to make their personal health a priority by knowing their numbers and making the necessary changes toward healthier living.”
Brian Richmond, Chief Technology Officer for the Quality Forum, says, “The launch of the portal is the culmination of years of hard work by our team that stems from a commitment to improving health care through the use of advanced technology. We strongly believe that patients will view this service option as an asset to their overall health care experience.”
For more information about the LaHIE Patient Portal, click here.

Quality Forum Seeks To Engage Patients With New Campaign

The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum is kicking off 2015 by launching a new statewide campaign targeting health care consumers.
Through a partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), the Quality Forum will develop tools and resources to promote awareness of the state’s growing health information technology platform, which includes the implementation of electronic health records at medical care practices and patient portals that provide patients around-the-clock access to their personal health information.
The Quality Forum also plans to assemble a panel of 15 health care advocates from nonprofits across the state to serve on an advisory council. The group will provide insight on how to best reach consumers through specific messaging and outreach efforts.
Marcia Blanchard, VP of Operations for the Quality Forum, says, “Since our inception, the health care consumer has been the driving force behind everything we do. As the state’s health information exchange continues to expand to providers and facilities across Louisiana, we feel now is the time to make sure consumers are aware of the many resources available to them.”
CEO Cindy Munn added, “We are excited to partner with DHH to work toward engaging patients across Louisiana. Our goal is to help consumers make the best decisions when it comes to their health while ensuring they have access to a high-quality, cost effective health care system.”

Quality Forum, Office of Public Health To Present Webinar Series

The Quality Forum is working together with the Office of Public Health to host a series of instructional webinars for health care professionals.
Each series will cover one of the following topics: hypertension, diabetes (for physicians) and prescription and medication adherence (for pharmacists). Survey questions will also be incorporated into the webinars. The first set is scheduled to begin next month.
Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director, says, “Education is an ongoing process and is critical to the success of all health care professionals. We are excited to provide them with this learning opportunity and we hope it benefits both them and their patients in the long run.”
Bobbie LeBlanc, PCMH Program Director, added, “We believe the information shared through these webinars will help improve care in the clinical setting by equipping doctors and pharmacists with the tools and strategies to better monitor and track their patients’ medical conditions while enhancing the overall patient experience.”

Eligible Professionals Face MU Deadline

Medicare eligible professionals (EPs) have only a few weeks left to meet criteria for meaningful use reporting year 2014. EPs must attest to meaningful use by Feb. 28 or face penalties in the form of payment adjustments.
Last month, CMS reminded EPs that December 31 marked the end of the final quarterly 2014 meaningful use reporting period.
It also warned them about MU penalties, saying those without a hardship exemption who fail to demonstrate meaningful use in 2014 can expect to see payment adjustments beginning in 2016.
CMS says professionals who are eligible to participate in both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs must demonstrate meaningful use and can do so under either Medicare or Medicaid.
The reminder comes as more than 257,000 EPs recently learned of their failure to meet meaningful use in 2013 and their resulting Medicare payment adjustments, which took effect Jan. 5. Those providers do have the option of challenging CMS’ decision and can submit those applications through the end of February.
Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director, says, “It is imperative for our EPs to meet attestation criteria every reporting year and our team is working tirelessly to ensure these providers are not only aware of the deadline, but are on track to meet it.”
For more information about the EP deadline, click here.

Proposed Stage 3 MU Requirements Under Review

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing the proposed rule for Stage 3 Meaningful Use (MU), which will be published in the Federal Register next month.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) submitted the rule to OMB, outlining criteria eligible hospitals and providers must meet to demonstrate MU under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
HHS says the Stage 3 rule proposes changes to the reporting period, timelines, and structure of the program, including a single definition of meaningful use. Officials are confident the changes “will provide a flexible, yet clearer framework to ensure future sustainability of the EHR program and reduce confusion stemming from multiple stage requirements.”
CMS developed the Stage 3 proposal based on recommendations set forth by the Health IT Policy Committee last March.
“Each MU rule stands as a critical guideline for health care providers to follow in accordance with the EHR Incentive Program. We are confident in HHS’ ability to draft a concise rule for Stage 3 and stand ready to assist our providers in meeting its criteria,” says Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director.
Stage 3 is expected to go into effect no earlier than 2017.
To learn more about the proposal, click here.

LHIMA Preps For Annual Convention

The Louisiana Health Information Management Association (LHIMA) is gearing up to host its annual convention, but on a smaller scale this year.
The organization says it will hold a one-day “mini-convention” Apr. 24 in Monroe due to the national association’s (AHIMA) convention coming to New Orleans this fall. “The volunteers and staff of LHIMA are thrilled to host this wonderful meeting for the national association and its members,” officials said.
LHIMA’s convention in Monroe will also be live-streamed to satellite locations at Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge and at Our Lady of Lourdes in Lafayette.
For more information about the convention, click here.

ONC Revises Federal Health IT Strategic Plan

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has updated its federal health IT strategic plan, identifying new objectives for achieving a fully integrated, high quality health care system in the next five years.
The original plan was released in 2011, when CMS launched its Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentives Programs. Since then, officials have already seen some of those goals, such as EHR adoption, come to light.
In a letter prefacing the new plan, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Karen DeSalvo, MD, cites that more than 400,000 eligible hospitals and professionals now participate in the CMS programs.
The updated Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015- 2020 consists of five main goals, including:
  • Expanding the adoption of health IT
  • Advancing secure and interoperable health information
  • Strengthening health care delivery
  • Advancing the health and well-being of individuals and communities
  • Advancing research, scientific knowledge and innovation
ONC says the first two goals focus on increasing the electronic sharing of health information while protecting patient privacy. The last three are centered on efforts to ultimately create an interoperable health care environment, where data serves a dual purpose of improving health and reducing costs.
DeSalvo says the new plan is a reflection of the government’s commitment to creating an interoperable health care system and its willingness to incorporate new strategies in making that dream a reality. “While we will continue to work towards more widespread adoption of health IT, efforts will begin to include new sources of information and ways to disseminate knowledge quickly, securely, and efficiently.
ONC is accepting public comments on the new plan through February 2015. A final version will be released later next year.
To learn more about the strategic plan, click here.

Registration Open For ONC Annual Meeting

Health IT professionals are gearing up for a two-day long symposium in the Nation’s Capitol next month.
The ONC is hosting its Annual Meeting Feb. 2-3 at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.
Officials say the opening day will consist of a keynote address from National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, as well as a series of panel discussions that explore the secure, interoperable collection and use of health IT to improve health care.
Attendees will spend the second day interacting in breakout sessions ranging in topics from “Social Determinants of Health” to “Health Information Exchange in Rural and Underserved Communities.” ONC also plans to stream the opening day’s sessions live online.
More than 1,000 people are expected to attend this year’s meeting.
For more information on ONC’s Annual Meeting, or to register, click here.

ONC Hosts Health IT, Patient Safety Webinar

Health IT professionals interested in learning more about e-prescribing can sign up for the second of a 10-part webinar series hosted by ONC.

The upcoming webinar takes place Jan. 30 from 1 pm – 2:30 pm EST. It will present recent research on the role of health IT in ambulatory medication prescribing from different perspectives.
The webinar will be led by Tejal Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS; Erika Abramson, MD, MS; Ajit Dhavle, PharmD, MBA; and Mark Graber, MD.
For more information or to register, click here.

Munn Speaks To Gonzales Rotary Club

Cindy Munn, Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum CEO, addressed the Quality Forum’s mission and its focus on health information technology at the Jan. 20 meeting of the Gonzales Rotary Club. Munn also shared the benefits of electronic health records, the basics of health information exchange and the latest information about LaHIE participation with the group.
From left: Gonzales Rotarian Fritz Englade, Jr., Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn and Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux.

      • Karen Guillot, RN, Clinical Consultant for the Quality Forum’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) initiative, passed the Content Expert Exam for the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and is now a Certified Content Expert in PCMH.
      • Bonny Kennedy, Lead Implementation Specialist for the Louisiana Health Information Technology (LHIT) Resource Center, provided an MU update and led Q&A at the Northlake Association of Medical Managers meeting Jan. 21 in Madisonville.
      • Kennedy also presented meaningful use for radiologists at the Radiology Business Management Association – Delta States Chapter at the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi Jan. 23.
      • Cynthia Michael, Quality Forum Community Relations Director, has received a civil money penalty (CMP) grant that will allow PCMH practice consultants to work with nursing home administrators on implementing LaPOST. The project is set to begin in February 2015.
      • The Quality Forum is referenced in a bio published about Frederick Cerise, M.D., and Chair Elect of the Teaching Hospitals of Texas’ Executive Committee. View it here.
      • Monroe News Star published a story Dec. 21 about the implementation of the LaPOST document to a state nursing home assessment. Read it here.
      • Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation announced the addition of Charles Burnell, MD, to the Quality Forum Board of Directors. Read it here.
      • Hospice and Palliative Care Daily shared a link to the LaPOST e-Learning Center in its Jan. 12 edition. To learn more about LaPOST training, click here.
      • Tony Keck, a founding member of the Quality Forum, is mentioned in an article published by East Tennessee Medical News announcing his new position as Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Mountain States Health Alliance. Read it here.
      • The #DigitalHealth Compendium, an online health newspaper, posted a link Dec. 16 to the Quality Forum’s news page, shared byLaPOST via Twitter.
      • NRHI Library shared a link to the Quality Forum’s December e-newsletter on View it here.
      • TheQuality Forum is mentioned in a biography for Jarrett Johnson, OD, on the Southern College of Optometry’s website. Johnson serves as an advisor to the Quality Forum’s Quality Measurement Committee and is a member of the college’s Board of Trustees. To read her bio, click here.
      • TheHealthcare Journal of Baton Rouge published a column authored by Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn in its November/December edition, entitled “Trending: What to Look For in 2015.” Read it here.

      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..