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e-News | October 2014

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

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LaHIE Patient Portal Aims To Improve Patient Engagement

The Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) is set to launch its patient portal before the end of the year.
The LaHIE Patient Portal is a secure, online website that will provide patients with 24-hour access to their personal health information. In order to access the portal, their health care provider must be actively participating in LaHIE and subscribed to the service.
Marcia Blanchard, Vice President of Operations for the Quality Forum, says, “Our ultimate goal is to empower consumers through the LaHIE Patient Portal by giving them a comprehensive look at their personal health information. We believe the portal will effectively change the way patients participate in the health care system, allowing them to take a more active role in their own health care.”
Click here for more information about the LaHIE Patient Portal.

DHH Adds LaPOST Requirement To MDS Submissions

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) has updated the format of quarterly reports submitted by nursing facilities to include a question regarding Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST).
Under Section S of the Minimum Data Set (MDS), facilities are now required to answer whether or not their patients have a LaPOST document. The change went into effect Oct. 1, 2014.
According to DHH, the MDS is an assessment tool that all certified Medicare and Medicaid nursing homes are required to submit electronically. It must be completed for each resident in the facility.
Susan Nelson, MD, Chair of the LaPOST Coalition, says, “The documentation of the presence of a LaPOST document on the MDS is a major step forward in our efforts to establish a thoughtful care plan for residents in long-term care facilities who have serious, advanced illness. We appreciate DHH’s recognition of the importance of documenting the presence of a LaPOST document when it comes to providing this care and treatment.”
For more information about LaPOST, visit

LaPOST Ready Deadline Nears

The deadline to register for the upcoming LaPOST Ready event in Covington is just around the corner.
All health care professionals in Washington, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes are encouraged to register by Oct. 31. There is no fee to participate.
The LaPOST Coalition is hosting the workshop to declare the Covington area “LaPOST Ready.”
It will be held from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Nov. 6, at the Tchefuncta Country Club. The event is designed to increase awareness about the LaPOST document.
Susan Nelson, MD, LaPOST Coalition Chair, and Patricia Bomba, MD, Vice-President & Medical Director, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and Chair, MOLST Statewide Implementation Team and eMOLST Program Director, will serve as featured speakers for the workshop.
For more information or to register, click here.

Quality Forum To Exhibit At LPCA Conference

The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum will be an exhibitor in the Louisiana Primary Care Association’s (LPCA) 31st Annual Continuing Education Conference this month in Shreveport.
Quality Forum staff members will distribute information and answer questions about LaHIE, its capabilities and its benefits.
Brian Richmond, Chief Technology Officer for the Quality Forum, says, “We look forward to the opportunity to provide education and promote awareness about the importance of LaHIE as it relates to providing a safe, secure platform for the sharing of patients’ critical health information.”
The conference will be held Oct. 15-18 at the Shreveport Convention Center.
For more information about LPCA, click here. To learn more about LaHIE, click here.

ONC: EHRs Improve Patient Safety

More doctors are attributing an overall improvement in patient treatment and quality of care to the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs), according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
ONC reports that providers who have adopted Meaningful Use principles, which include electronic documentation, have seen a significant decline in patient safety events and a reduction in the number of adverse drug reactions.
One survey found that nearly 70 percent of doctors who used EHRs found lab alerts or medication reminders helpful in avoiding potential patient harm. 
An impressive 47 percent say they witnessed an improvement in the amount of preventative care they provided due to EHR features. EHRs were also associated with improved clinical communication, including easing the ordering of referrals and exchanging data with other providers.
Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director for the Louisiana Health Information Technology Center (LHIT) Resource Center, says, “These findings are evidence that the Meaningful Use of EHRs and health IT can transform the way doctors treat their patients, making for a safer and more productive health care experience.”
To learn more about the ONC’s findings, click here.

LaPOST Offers New Educational Tools For Consumers

The LaPOST Coalition has updated and created new advance care planning tools for patients, families and health care professionals.
The new, updated documents help explain how to use LaPOST while providing thorough information on end-of-life care options and advance care planning.
The following materials can be accessed below:

LaPOST Fact Sheet
FAQs for Consumers
LaPOST Consumer Handbook
FAQs for Health Care Professionals
LaPOST Implementation Guide
LaPOST Guide to Medical Treatments and Conditions
For more information on LaPOST, click here.

Thibodaux Facility Ranks Among Nation’s Best Small Hospital IT Departments

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center has earned a national distinction for the third consecutive year. The hospital’s IT department was awarded third place in the Small Hospitals category as one of the best in the U.S., according to Healthcare IT News.
The organization issues the awards annually to facilities across the country based on employees’ responses to surveys regarding their satisfaction in the workplace.
A total of 85 departments were selected from more than 190 nominations as finalists for the award. Among them, 12 qualified for the Super category (200+ IT employees); 15 for the Large category (76 to 199 employees); 24 for the Medium category (26-75 employees); and 34 for the Small category (25 or fewer employees).
Thibodaux Regional Medical Center is an active participant in LaHIE and is the only facility in Louisiana to receive the award this year.
To learn more about the winners, click here.

IOM Calls For Improvements To End-Of-Life Care

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report Sept. 17 identifying key challenges facing end-of-life care and opportunities to make improvements.
Dying In America calls for changes in how health care providers and organizations address the needs of patients with advanced, serious illness and how society views and approaches the end-of-life conversation.
In the report, the IOM noted that palliative care is associated with a higher quality of life and may reduce health care costs. They also acknowledged a belief that advance care planning and medical orders are essential to ensure a patient’s goals of care are honored.
In addition, the IOM recommends:
  • The development of standards for doctor-patient communication and advance care planning that are measurable, actionable and evidence-based
  • Training, certification and/or licensure requirements for all clinicians who care for those with advanced, serious illness
  • Increased public engagement and education in local communities about end-of-life care
  • States develop and implement a Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) paradigm program in accordance with national standards
“The IOM’s findings reflect a need for greater emphasis on end-of-life care planning in America,” says Susan Nelson, MD, LaPOST Coalition Chair. “While the report makes several recommendations to improve the health care system as a whole, we recognize that the ongoing efforts of the LaPOST Coalition are already making progress in Louisiana.”
To learn more about the report, click here.

Quality Forum Gears Up For Senior Day At The State Fair

The Quality Forum will be on hand with information about LaHIE, EHRs and LaPOST for the 5th Annual Senior Day at the State Fair.
This year’s event takes place Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum, located at 3701 Hudson Ave., in Shreveport, La.
The event will feature musical entertainment, game shows, free health screenings, educational presentations, free flu and pneumonia shots and door prizes. People of all ages are encouraged to attend.
Admission is free until 3 p.m. Free parking will also be available.
The 5th Annual Senior Day at the Fair is presented by The Best of Times and The State Fair of Louisiana.
To learn more about Senior Day or the State Fair, click here.

Quality Forum Recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This month, the Quality Forum is joining millions of Americans in showing its support for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“We understand the importance of spreading knowledge and awareness about breast cancer to ultimately empower women to take control of their health and to potentially reduce the number of diagnoses,” says Quality Forum CEO Cindy Munn. “We continue to recognize and support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to promote the value of breast cancer awareness and education as well as preventive care.”
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in 8 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. In Louisiana, death rates from breast cancer are among the highest in the nation.
These figures are why experts stress the importance of early detection and why they encourage all women to learn the signs and symptoms of breast cancer so they can be screened in time, Munn notes.
The Quality Forum will publish special blog posts throughout October highlighting topics related to breast cancer awareness, including preventive care and stories of survival.

Jillian Washington

Jillian Washington serves as Marketing Project Specialist for the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum. She helps to coordinate marketing strategies and develops content used to promote Quality Forum initiatives and programs.
Jillian previously worked in the broadcast news industry as an associate producer for the ABC affiliate in Baton Rouge. She has also interned for several non-profits across the region, where she was responsible for conducting various public relations and marketing activities and projects.
Jillian has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication with a minor in Business from Louisiana State University.

      • Cindy Munn, Quality Forum CEO will speak Nov. 6 at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Health Information Management (HIM) program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL). The program will be held at the ULL Alumni Center. Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director and president of the Louisiana chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), is also scheduled to give remarks.
      • The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement included a link to the Quality Forum’s September e-newsletter in its online library on See it here.
      • Dr. Susan Nelson, LaPOST Coalition Chair, spoke at the Woman’s Hospital Conference Center Sept. 9 on Conversations Change Lives.
      • The Healthcare Journal of New Orleans and The Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge published an article announcing the Quality Forum’s new officers and board members for 2014-2015. Read it here.
      • Louis Minsky, MD, Quality Forum Board President, was mentioned in an article published Sept. 28 in The Advocate (Baton Rouge) announcing the new board members. Click here to view it.
      • TheLaPOST Coalition hosted an event Sept. 11 to declare the Monroe region as “LaPOST Ready.” Susan Nelson, MD, and Mary Raven, MD, spoke to approximately 85 health care professionals on advance care planning.
      • Quality Forum staff attended MedCity News’ ENGAGE conference Sept. 30 – Oct. 1 in Bethesda, Maryland, where they heard presentations from top health care professionals and participated in social media discussions on ways to advance patient engagement. identified the Quality Forum as one of the top influencers of the conference on Twitter. Click here to view the statistics.
      • Kim Byers, with Nottingham Rehabilitation Center, spoke to Baton Rouge leaders Sept. 11 about advance care planning and theLaPOST document.
      • Cindy Munn, Quality Forum CEO, will be a guest onThe Best of Times Radio Hour, hosted by Gary Calligas, Nov. 1, for a discussion on how EHRs can help patients. The show will air from 9-10 a.m. in the Shreveport area on News Radio 710 KEEL. It will also stream live online here. For more information on The Best of Times, click here.
      • TheLaPOST document was presented to a group of more than 200 people at a health fair Sept. 27 co-sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge’s Marriage and Family Life Office and Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area at Baton Rouge General Medical Center.
      • LaPOST and the Quality Forum participated in the monthly ElderCare Chat live discussion on Twitter on Oct. 3. The conversation focused on ways for caregivers to help themselves and others during tough times. Click here to view the highlights.
      • TheLHIT Resource Center hosted a webinar Oct. 7 to assist health care professionals in understanding the recently-released flexibility rule.
      • Susan Nelson, MD, served as the featured speaker at GIST Support International at MD Anderson in Houston on Sept. 13. She also spoke to the Stephen Ministry Leadership group atSt. Luke Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge on Sept. 15.
      • Brian Richmond, Chief Technology Officer, and Allen Abshire, Health IT Operations Director, will be among the speakers at the Orion Health 2014 North American Healthcare Collaborative in Ojai, Calif., Oct. 28-29. Richmond’s presentation will focus on Big Data and Abshire will discuss the Quality Forum’s School-Based Health Center Program.
      • LaHIE has added the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine to its list of participants. The center is affiliated with Thibodeaux Regional Medical Center and has locations in Thibodeaux and Houma.

      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..