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e-News | Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum - April 2013

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Year In Review: Quality Forum In 2013

The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum marked several notable achievements and successes in 2013.

Those items include the following:
  • In February 2013, the Quality Forum launched its social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook. To date, the Quality Forum has more than 1,200 followers on Twitter and 135 followers on Facebook. The Quality Forum is also on LinkedIn and has a network of 225 connections.
  • In April 2013, the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) was recognized by the State HIE Grantee Recognition Program for leading in the charge in increasing active use of health information exchanges (HIEs). In August 2013, LaHIE was recognized as a “Bright Spot” by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). LaHIE was selected because of its unique approach to promoting HIE adoption among rural providers in Louisiana through the use of a tiered participation model based on hospitals’ net patient revenue. This model was designed to reduce cost barriers that may prevent rural facilities from participating in the statewide HIE.
  • In April 2013, Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn served as a featured presenter at Cajun CodeFest 2.0 in Lafayette, where she unveiled a “Star Wars”-themed video about LaHIE. The video, “Health Wars: Episode I,” was well-received by attendees, which included former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari, MD. The presentation, accompanying materials and the LaHIE video received a Certificate of Merit at the Pelican Awards in the fall of 2013 from the Louisiana Society for Hospital Public Relations and Marketing (LSHPRM).
  • In October 2013, the Quality Forum hosted, “Health Care Reform and You: Professional Viewpoints,” a summit focused on the impact of health care reform in Louisiana. Speakers included Sheila P. Burke, Senior Public Policy Advisor with Baker Donelson’s Washington, DC, office; Mike Bertaut, health care consultant with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana; David Callecod, President and CEO of Lafayette General Health; Vincent Culotta, MD, President of the Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS); Ray Peters, Vice-President of RoyOMartin Lumber Co. and former Quality Forum Board President; and Carol Solomon, President and CEO of Peoples Health. The event drew nearly 200 attendees from across the state.
  • In December 2013, the Quality Forum announced that LaHIE included more than 560,000 unique patient records. As of December 2013, 33 hospitals and clinics were live with LaHIE and 68 were actively onboarding.

Year In Review: LaPOST In 2013

The Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) Coalition noted several achievements and successes in 2013.

These items include the following:
  • Several LaPOST resources were developed and released in 2013 to provide education to patients, consumers and health care providers. These resources included an eight-minute LaPOST video released in February 2013; the “Conversations Change Lives” guidebook in April 2013; and The Final Journey, a publication designed specifically for the Catholic faith in collaboration with the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the fall of 2013.

  • In June 2013, the LaPOST Coalition celebrated the second anniversary of the Louisiana Legislature’s approval of the LaPOST document.

  • In August 2013, the LaPOST Coalition launched the second ‘LaPOST Ready’ campaign in the Acadiana region. The 90-day campaign, which culminated with a special event at The Petroleum Club in Lafayette in November 2013, provided LaPOST education and information to health care providers, social workers, caregivers and faith leaders in the Acadiana region.

  • In November 2013, the LaPOST Coalition hosted a strategic planning session in Baton Rouge to identify goals for 2014 and to discuss implementation of strategies to meet those goals. One of the priority goals for 2014 is to develop a statewide team of LaPOST champions to serve as regional advocates to provide LaPOST education to target areas of the state.

  • In December 2013, LaPOST launched its own social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter.

Former Quality Forum Board President Named National Coordinator For Health IT

Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, one of the Quality Forum’s founding members and former board president, will assume the role of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (IT) on Jan. 13, according to a press release issued in December 2013 by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. 

In the press release, Sebelius noted that DeSalvo has “been at the forefront of efforts to modernize the New Orleans health care system,” and added, “Dr. DeSalvo’s hands-on experience with health delivery reform and health IT and its potential to improve health care and public health will be invaluable assets to the Office of the National Coordinator and the Department.” 

DeSalvo, currently the City of New Orleans Health Commissioner and Senior Health Policy Advisor to Mayor Mitch Landrieu, has been a leading advocate for the use of health IT to improve access to health care, the quality of care and overall health outcomes in Louisiana. As former board president for the Quality Forum, she was a leading force in the founding of the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) and the Louisiana Health Information Technology (LHIT) Resource Center, the state’s Regional Extension Center (REC). 

Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn says, “We are very excited for Dr. DeSalvo and look forward to working with her in her new role as National Coordinator. She has played an invaluable part in the development of, and is a tireless advocate for, health IT and the improvement of health care delivery and quality in Louisiana. We are very grateful to her for her hard work in our state and know that she will continue those efforts on the national level.” 

DeSalvo has more than 20 years of practice, research and policy experience and has been recognized as a leader in Louisiana’s health care reform efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She was recognized in 2008 as a Woman of Excellence in Health Care by the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus for her health care reform efforts, and has served as a member of the Louisiana Medical Care Advisory Commission, the Louisiana Health Care Commission and as dean of community affairs and health policy at Tulane University’s School of Medicine.  

DeSalvo is credited with numerous achievements in health care reform in New Orleans, including the implementation of the NOLA for Life program as well as programs focused on family and youth violence intervention and prevention and domestic violence. Her efforts also led to the expansion of hospital and community clinic services through the Greater New Orleans Community Health Connection program. 

She replaces interim National Coordinator for Health IT Jacob Reider, who replaced Farzad Mostashari, MD, in August 2013. Reider will return to his previous position as Chief Medical Officer for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

LaPOST Launches Facebook, Twitter

The Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) Coalition has launched Facebook and Twitter feeds to increase awareness and provide education about the LaPOST document. 

Previously, LaPOST shared information via the Facebook and Twitter pages of the Quality Forum. However, after receiving recommendations during a strategic planning session and from the National Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm Task Force, the decision was made to launch social media outlets specifically for LaPOST, says Coalition Chair Susan Nelson, MD. 

“Research has consistently shown that more and more Americans are seeking information about health, health care, advance care planning and related topics online, and social media provides a new method for communicating this information to a wider segment of the population,” Nelson says. “The use of Twitter and Facebook will enable us to expand our focus on increasing awareness about LaPOST as well as allow us to interactively share information with media, faith-based organizations, caregiver groups, health care providers and others.” 

To follow LaPOST on Twitter, click here. To follow LaPOST on Facebook, click here.

LHIT Resource Center Assistance Available To Medicaid Specialists

The Louisiana Health Information Technology (LHIT) Resource Center, as the state’s Regional Extension Center (REC), 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.


ONC Issues List Of Health IT Resources For MUvers, Others

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released in December a list of select health IT publications for use as informational resources by Regional Extension Centers (RECs), health IT fellows, MUvers and providers in the adoption and meaningful use (MU) of electronic health records (EHRs). 

The list provides a compilation of select publications from various peer-reviewed journals and media outlets. These publications focus on topics such as EHR adoption; cost savings after adoption; EHR networks, security systems and scope; and health IT effects on clinical patient outcomes and provider performance.  

The list can be downloaded by clicking here.

Guidance On EHR Implementation For CAHs, Small Hospitals Posted At

ONC has developed and posted online at a six-step guide for critical access and small hospitals to assist with the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs). 

The guide provides information for the completion of each step in the EHR implementation process as well as links to relevant resources and tools. The steps outlined include the following:
  • Assess organizational readiness: how to conduct an assessment of organizational needs, goals and financial and technical readiness.
  • Planning an approach: how to use the data learned during the assessment to develop an implementation plan.
  • Select or upgrade to a certified EHR: how to make EHRs compliant with meaningful use (MU) requirements.
  • Training and implementation strategies: how to conduct training, mock ‘go-live’ and pilot testing.
  • Achieve MU: how to successfully attest to demonstrating MU.
  • Continue quality improvement: how to continue evaluation of organizational goals and needs post-EHR implementation to improve workflows and leverage EHR functionality. 
To access the rural implementation guide, click here.

  • A Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum Blog post by Health IT Program Manager Nadine Robin on Dec. 16, 2013, was retweeted by ONC and several others and reached a total audience of more than 75,000 via Twitter. The blog post, “All I Want For Christmas,” was retweeted a total of 34 times on Twitter, shared twice on LinkedIn, received 20 ‘likes’ on Facebook and has been read nearly 1,000 times. The post details Robin’s personal experiences as an advocate for health IT. Read the blog post here.
  • Diete Dobroski, LHIT Resource Center Project Coordinator, authored an article for the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum Blog on Dec. 18, 2013. The blog post, “The Magic of Transmitting Health Information,” shares several key questions that health care providers should know to ask electronic health record vendors. Read the blog post here.
  • An announcement issued by the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum on Dec. 19, 2013, congratulating Karen DeSalvo, MD, on becoming the new National Coordinator for Health Information Technology was shared by the NHRI Library. The announcement includes a quote from Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn and details DeSalvo’s contributions to the advancement of health IT in Louisiana. Read the announcement here.
  • Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Manager, and Brian Richmond, CTO, were quoted in a Dec. 19, 2013, article about Karen DeSalvo, MD, being named the new National Coordinator for Health IT by In the article, Robin noted that she expects DeSalvo to take continue to focus on the use of secure health IT as a driver for quality improvements at the national level. Richmond noted that DeSalvo helped to launch the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) and played an integral role in establishing encryption for the transmission and storage of data. Read the full article here.
  • The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum was referenced in numerous articles regarding the announcement of Karen DeSalvo, MD, as the new National Coordinator for Health IT. Click here to read an article by the Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge. Click here to read an article by Modern Healthcare. Click here to read the article by article. Click here to read an official statement from HIMSS. Click here to read an article by the Journal of AHIMA.
  • An article by Cindy Munn, Quality Forum CEO, was published in the November/December edition of the Healthcare Journals of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The article, “Quality Investments in Louisiana’s Health: Supporting the National Quality Strategy,” detailed the efforts in Louisiana to improve health care quality and health outcomes through the NQS. The article includes quotes from Marcia Blanchard, Quality Forum CIO; Brian Richmond, Quality Forum CTO; and Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Manager for the Quality Forum. Read the article here.
  • The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum has been included in an NCQA list of “Partners in Quality” for its support of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model of care. Other formally recognized partners in quality in Louisiana include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana; Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI); Louisiana Academy of Family Physicians (LAFP); Louisiana Primary Care Association; Louisiana Healthcare Connections, LLC; and the Bureau of Health Services Financing, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). Review the full list here.
  • Nadine Robin, Quality Forum Health IT Program Manager, has been selected as a featured speaker for the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) Spring Institute in March in San Antonio, Texas. Robin will discuss the role of health IT in quality improvement and payment reform. Learn more about the conference 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..