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e-News | November 2014

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

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Quality Forum Among Presenters At GC3 Conference

Cindy Munn, Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum CEO; Bobbie LeBlanc, Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Program Director; and Carmen Stellman, PCMH Clinical Consultant, will be among the speakers at this year’s HIMSS Gulf Coast Chapters Conference.
The event, now in its second year, is scheduled for Dec. 4-5 at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans.
Munn’s presentation, “Building on Big Data: The Role of HIEs in Health Care Analytics,” is scheduled for 2 p.m., Thurs., Dec. 4.
Co-presenters LeBlanc and Stellman will present, “Beyond Meaningful Use: Advancing Patient-Centered Care Through Health IT,” at 11:05 a.m., Fri., Dec. 5.
Participants at this year’s conference will take part in educational sessions focused on topics such as TeleHealth, Meaningful Use, health information exchange and the current challenges of health information technology.
Nadine Robin, Quality Forum Health IT Program Director and President of LaHIMSS, says “Our conference brings together health care professionals from across our region to share information and ideas in an effort to advance the state of health IT. We look forward to all the possibilities this year’s conference will bring.”
For more information on the Gulf Coast HIMSS Chapters, click here.
To register for the conference, click here.

DeSalvo Shifts Gears To New HHS Role

Karen DeSalvo, MD, has taken on a new position within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The move comes at the request of HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.
As the Acting Assistant Secretary of Health (ASH), DeSalvo will focus on issues relating to public health and will work as a member of HHS’ Ebola response team.
Despite her new role, officials say DeSalvo will maintain leadership of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), while Lisa Lewis will take over the day-to-day operations as Acting National Coordinator.
DeSalvo was named National Coordinator for Health IT in January 2014. Since then, she has spearheaded efforts to improve the interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs) and advocated for the meaningful use of health IT throughout the U.S. health care system.
Prior to her ONC appointment, she served as Health Commissioner for New Orleans and is a former president of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum’s Board of Directors.
For more information about DeSalvo’s transition, click here.

Quality Forum Awarded Health Care Data Grant

The Quality Forum has been named one of 14 regional organizations to receive a grant from the Center for Healthcare Transparency (CHT). The awards, totaling more than $2 million, are part of CHT’s ongoing efforts to improve the availability of health care quality and cost information across the U.S.
CHT is a non-profit that focuses on access to credible data, which is considered a major barrier to health care transparency. The organization says it’s “leveraging the know-how of successful efforts in markets across the country and linking these efforts to federal and state policy efforts to improve the value of health care.”
The 14 grant recipients include Regional Healthcare Improvement Collaboratives (RHICs), Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), an All Payer Claims Database (APCD), and a large safety net hospital system.
The Center has joined forces with the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) and the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) to create a five-year implementation plan to make provider cost and quality data available for at least 50 percent of the U.S.
Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director for the Quality Forum, says, “This award reflects the extensive work our Regional Extension Center and Health Information Exchange are doing to collect and disseminate quality health care data and analytics to every stakeholder in the health care system. This funding will allow our team to continue working for the betterment of health in our state.”
To learn more about the grant, click here.

DeSalvo Receives Spirit Of Charity Award In New Orleans

National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD, Acting Assistant HHS Secretary and former Quality Forum Board President, became the 15th recipient of the Spirit of Charity Award from the Medical Center of Louisiana Foundation Oct. 10 at the JW Marriott in New Orleans.
The distinction is presented annually to a physician who has made significant contributions to the medical field and whose career began at the former Charity Hospital in New Orleans.
Cindy Munn, Quality Forum CEO, Marcia Blanchard, VP of Operations and Linda Morgan, Marketing and Communications Director, were among the more than 200 people in attendance.
Blanchard says, “It was an honor to be among the state’s top health care leaders to recognize the outstanding achievements of one of the Quality Forum’s founding members.”
Munn also offered her congratulations, saying, “Throughout her career, Karen has worked tirelessly to advance the efficiency and effectiveness of our nation’s health care system, keeping patients at the forefront of her efforts, and we join in with her colleagues in expressing our sincere appreciation for her unwavering resolve.”

LaPOST Launches New Website

The Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) Coalition unveiled its new website to the public Oct. 20, 2014.
The site features a new design and user-friendly layout with improved menu options for consumers and health care providers to better locate information on advance care planning and the LaPOST document.
Visitors to the site can also find new and updated educational materials to help guide them through the planning process.
Marcia Blanchard, VP of Operations, says, “We are very excited to be able to offer this new online resource to our stakeholders. The new site was designed with the needs of our consumers in mind and we feel they will appreciate the increased usability it provides.”
CEO Cindy Munn added, “The transition to the new LaPOST website is a testament to our commitment to helping patients and their families make the best end-of-life care decisions.”
You can access the new LaPOST site here.

ONC Report Highlights Progress, Challenges Facing HIT

ONC has released its annual report to Congress, providing an update on efforts to advance the adoption and use of health IT.
ONC acknowledges the U.S. health care system has made some progress toward improving HIE, noting that more than six in 10 hospitals currently exchange patient health data electronically with outside providers.
However, officials say interoperability remains a key challenge to standardizing health information exchange across the care system. One survey found that last year, only 14 percent of physicians shared patient information with providers outside their organization.
Another challenge is getting providers who do not quality for incentive payments on board and both EHR adopters and non-adopters cite the cost of purchasing an EHR system as a primary concern, the report notes.
But the ONC is hopeful, saying in a press release, “Effective communication and information sharing across all health care providers is essential for improving care quality and community health. Better alignment of health IT solutions among all provider types could promote electronic exchange and care coordination activities among all providers.”
According to the report, HHS plans to issue new regulations for HIE that will allow patient data to travel across care settings. The department is also working with stakeholders on developing a roadmap for interoperability.
To learn more about the ONC report, click here.

LaHIE Welcomes Pediatric Center Into Network

The Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine has become the latest health care facility to sign a participation agreement with the Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE).
The center is affiliated with Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, another LaHIE participant, and has locations in Thibodaux and Houma.
Cindy Munn, CEO of the Quality Forum, says, “We are pleased to welcome the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine into LaHIE as the latest health care provider dedicated to advancing the quality of patient care through the use of health information technology. The addition of this facility renews our commitment to provide all LaHIE participants with a secure, functional platform to exchange patient data.”
LaHIE allows for the secure exchange of health information among authorized providers and organizations across the state’s health care system to improve the quality of patient care.
There are currently more than 200 medical facilities and health care companies participating in LaHIE.
Click here to learn more about LaHIE.

Medical Home Model Transforms Care For Patients With Chronic Illness

A national insurance company has employed the medical home model in Illinois to improve the quality of treatment for patients with chronic diseases. reports that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has launched the state’s first intensive medical home program that will focus on patients with Crohn’s disease.
Blue Cross has partnered with Illinois’ largest gastrointestinal practice, which has its own care management model and a mobile communications platform specifically for clinicians to consult with patients between office visits.
According to the article, Crohn’s patients who join the program are contacted by the practice every month and asked a series of questions that help calculate the intensity of their symptoms. A nurse care manager also helps to develop a long-term care plan for patients and tracks their progress over time, consulting with a physician as needed.
Bobbie LeBlanc, Program Director for Patient-Centered Medical Homes in Louisiana, says, “We hope the establishment of this medical home model in Illinois marks a new trend in the development of similar partnerships between insurers and health care providers to ultimately improve the quality and delivery of care to patients across the country.”
To learn more about the Illinois medical home model, click here.

Louisiana Among Five States To Recognize NHIT Week

In an effort to promote awareness about the importance of health IT, the Quality Forum has helped the state earn a special distinction. Louisiana was one of only five states to officially recognize National Health IT Week (Sept. 15-19) this year.
Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a proclamation officially acknowledging NHIT Week in Louisiana. The celebration is held annually to educate Americans about health IT and to recognize its significance in the advancement of modern health care.
For a recap of NHIT Week, click here.

EBR Recognizes LHCQF Day

East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden issued a proclamation declaring Nov. 6 as Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum Day. Holden presented a certificate stamped with the Seal of the City to Cynthia Michael, Quality Forum Community Relations Director, and Susan Nelson, MD, LaPOST Coalition Chair and Quality Forum Board Member, at a LaPOST special event.


      • Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn and Health IT Program Director Nadine Robin were among the featured speakers at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Health Information Management program at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 6. Their comments focused on the value of ULL’s HIM program in providing trained professionals to drive the advancement of health IT, data and analytics.

      • John Fielding, Analytics Project Manager, is representing the Quality Forum as a member of the Behavioral Health Information Exchange’s National Learning Collaborative. The organization meets monthly and is led by the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO). To learn more about CORHIO, click here.

      • Bobbie LeBlanc, PCMH Program Director, and Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director, attended the ONC Fall Meeting in Washington, DC, Oct. 27-29, to discuss the agency’s 10-year plan for interoperability.

      • Bernie Clement, CIO of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, a LaHIE participant, gave a three-part interview in September to, a Meditech News and Opinion online broadcast. Clement references LaHIE and the Quality Forum in the series. Find transcripts of the interviews here.
      • The Quality Forum and LaPOST exhibited at Senior Day at the Louisiana State Fair Oct. 23 at the Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport. Quality Forum staff distributed information about EHRs, LaHIE and the LaPOST document to participants.
      • The Quality Forum was listed as a partner of the Louisiana Learning Action Network on the Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program website. You can view it here.
      • The LaPOST Ready Covington event, hosted by the LaPOST Coalition, appeared in’s Community Connection Oct 8. View it here. The Healthcare Journal of New Orleans also published an article about the LaPOST Ready Covington event. You can read it here.

      • Gery J. Barry,General Manager, MedImpact International, and a founding board member of the Quality Forum, is profiled on the company’s website. You can read it here.

      • The Times-Picayune published an article Oct. 15 about National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD, receiving the Spirit of Charity Award in New Orleans. Read it here.

      • LaPOST was listed as one of the top influencers for the Oct. 15 ElderCare Chat discussion on Twitter. View the statistics here.

      • Cindy Munn,Quality Forum CEO, was a featured guest on the Best of Times Radio Hour, hosted by Gary Calligas, Oct. 29. The program will air at a later date in the Shreveport-Bossier City area. It will be available online at

      • Linda Morgan, Director of Marketing and Communications, penned a blog for the Quality Forum detailing her personal experiences as a breast cancer survivor Oct. 17. The blog received more than 330 hits online, was shared numerous times via social media and was linked to by The ASD Daily via Twitter and The RN Report Daily. Read the blog here.

      • HITECH Answers included the announcement of the Quality Forum’s new website on its News & Updates from Regional Extension Centers Oct. 21. View it here.
      • The New Orleans Council for Community and Justice (NOCCJ) recognized National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD, as an honoree for its 57th Annual Weiss Awards Nov. 5 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans. The event honors those who have made outstanding civic and humanitarian contributions to the Crescent City. To learn more about the honorees, click 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..