Delivering coordinated, high quality care for patients

By Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer

In July 2016, CMS proposed new bundled payment models that continue the Administration’s progress to shift Medicare payments from rewarding quantity to rewarding quality by creating strong incentives for hospitals and clinicians to deliver better care to patients at a lower cost. These proposed new bundled payment models focus on heart attacks, heart bypass surgery, and hip fracture surgery. They would reward hospitals that work together with physicians and other providers to avoid complications, prevent hospital readmissions, and speed recovery. This proposal follows the implementation of the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model that begin earlier this year, which introduced bundled payments for certain hip and knee replacements.

Patients want the peace of mind that comes with knowing they will receive high quality, coordinated care from the minute they are admitted to the hospital through their recovery. Bundling payments for services that patients receive across a single episode of care – such as a heart bypass surgery or hip replacement – encourages better care coordination among hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers. Providers participating in bundled payments must work together when patients are in the hospital as well as after they are discharged, which should improve their recovery and avoid preventable complications and costs by keeping people healthy and at home.

Doctors, patient advocates, and health care experts across the country support these models because they have seen firsthand their potential for delivering better quality and more cost-effective care. Public and private-sector bundled payment models have already shown promise in improving patient outcomes while lowering costs, including for cardiac and orthopedic care. In Medicare, more than 1,400 providers are currently participating in bundles through the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative. Early results are encouraging: orthopedic surgery bundles, in particular, have shown promising results on cost and quality in the first two years of the initiative. These models keep the patient at the center of care delivery and focus on well-coordinated, high quality care.

Today, CMS is releasing the second annual evaluation report for Models 2-4 of the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, which include both retrospective and prospective bundled payments that may or may not include the acute inpatient hospital stay for a given episode of care. This report describes the characteristics of the participants and includes quantitative results from the first year of the initiative. Future evaluation reports will have greater ability to detect changes in payment and quality due to larger sample sizes and the recent growth in participation of the initiative, which generally is not reflected in this report. Key highlights include:

  • 11 out of the 15 clinical episode groups analyzed showed potential savings to Medicare. Future evaluation reports will have more data to analyze individual clinical episodes within these and additional groups;
  • Orthopedic surgery under Model 2 hospitals showed statistically significant savings of $864 per episode while showing improved quality as indicated by beneficiary surveys. Beneficiaries who received their care at participating hospitals indicated that they had greater improvement after 90 days post-discharge in two mobility measures than beneficiaries treated at comparison hospitals; and
  • Cardiovascular surgery episodes under Model 2 hospitals did not show any savings yet but quality of care was preserved. Over the next year, we will have significantly more data available, enabling us to better estimate effects on costs and quality.

While there is more work to be done, CMS continues to move forward to achieving the Administration’s goal to have 50 percent of traditional Medicare payments tied to alternative payment models by 2018. The 2016 goal of tying 30 percent of Medicare payments to alternative payment models was met eleven months ahead of schedule, and we are committed to keeping that momentum. Bundled payments – including the ongoing Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model – continue to be an integral part of transforming our health care system by creating innovative care delivery models that support hospitals, doctors, and other providers in their efforts to deliver better care for patients while spending taxpayer dollars more wisely.

To view the evaluation report, please visit the CMS Innovation Center website at: https://innovation.cms.gov/Data-and-Reports/index.html.

Accountable Health Communities Track 1 Funding Opportunity

By Patrick Conway, M.D., principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer, CMS

In January 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for a model called the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model. This is the first Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation model to focus on the health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Many of these social issues, such as housing instability, hunger, and interpersonal violence, affect individuals’ health, yet they are rarely, if ever, detected or addressed during typical health care-related visits. The AHC Model is based on emerging evidence that addressing health-related social needs through enhanced clinical-community linkages can improve health outcomes and reduce costs.

The original Funding Opportunity Announcement requested applications for three different scalable tracks featuring interventions of varying intensity that would address health-related social needs for beneficiaries. After receiving significant interest, inquiries and stakeholder feedback, CMS has decided to make modifications to the Track 1 application requirements and is releasing a new FOA specific to Track 1 of the AHC Model. CMS believes two key modifications to Track 1 will make the model more accessible to a broader set of applicants

  1. Reducing the annual number of beneficiaries applicants are required to screen from 75,000 to 53,000; and
  1. Increasing the maximum funding amount per award recipient from $1 million to $1.17 million over 5 years.

Track 1 will support bridge organizations that are working to increase a patient’s awareness of available community services through screening, information dissemination, and referral. The Track 1 approach seeks to address the decreased capacity of clinical delivery sites to respond to beneficiaries’ health-related social needs because (1) health-related social needs remain undetected due to the lack of universal screening and (2) clinical delivery sites and patients may lack awareness about existing community service providers that could address those needs.  Track 1 award recipients will partner with the state Medicaid agency, community service providers and clinical delivery sites to implement the Model.

The AHC Model complements CMS’ growing focus on population health by providing the necessary tools and support for a successful transition to a holistic health system. The AHC Model will also enhance CMS’ understanding of the impact of interventions to address social needs on health care costs.

We look forward to the applications to this FOA. Please contact us at the email address below for further information.

Application Information:

Under this announcement, CMS is accepting applications from community-based organizations, health care practices, hospitals and health systems, institutions of higher education, local government entities, tribal organizations, and for-profit and non-for- profit local and national entities with the capacity to develop and maintain relationships with clinical delivery sites and community service providers.  Applicants from all 50 states, U.S. Territories, or the District of Columbia (D.C.) may apply. All applicants, including those who applied to Tracks 1, 2 or 3 in the previous FOA, are eligible to apply to this FOA. Applicants that previously applied to Track 1 of the AHC Model under the original FOA (# CMS-1P1-17-001) must re-apply using this FOA (# CMS-1P1-17-002) to be considered for the Model.

The AHC Model is accepting applications for Track 1 at www.grants.gov through November 3, 2016.

Have a Question?

Questions about the AHC Model can be sent to AccountableHealthCommunities@cms.hhs.gov.

Additional Information:

For more information about the AHC Model, please visit our website at https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/ahcm. Follow us on Twitter at @CMSinnovates

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Looking Back on Promising Progress in Round One State Innovation Model, Looking Forward to the Future of State Based Innovation

by Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer
The State Innovation Models (SIM) Initiative began in April 2013, and has supported over 38 states, territories and the District of Columbia in two rounds of awards.  Yesterday, we released the second annual independent evaluation report for the Round 1 State Innovation Model Test Awards, including the first findings available for SIM after the baseline data summary.  This report shows both progress in states being catalysts for health care transformation and the value of CMS’ collaboration with states. Today, we are releasing a Request for Information (RFI) to obtain input on the design and future direction of the SIM Initiative.

Overview of SIM

SIM states are testing strategies to transform health-care across their entire state, specifically to have a preponderance of payments to providers from all payers in the state be in value-based purchasing and/or alternative payment models.

In the SIM Initiative, CMS is testing models for how state governments can use their policy and regulatory levers to accelerate statewide health care system transformation from encounter-based service delivery to care coordination, and from volume-based to value-based payment.  Round 1 states are implementing statewide health care innovation plans that support health care transformation through a variety of methods, including:

  • primary care practice transformation through patient-centered, coordinated care;
  • integration of primary care with other health and social services, including behavioral health services and long-term services and supports;
  • payment reforms that promote delivery system transformation and a variety of enabling strategies to facilitate and sustain an improved health system that puts the patient at the center of care delivery; and
  • community-based population health and prevention.

Central to enhanced care coordination, population health, behavioral and physical health integration, and alternative payment models is the use of health information technology (IT) and a robust data infrastructure.  The Round 1 Test states are strengthening these capacities through:

  • engaging and supporting providers that have not typically been connected to health IT;
  • requiring participating providers to report on data and/or implement health IT;
  • making available patient-level health information to providers and systems to improve care coordination; and
  • improving data analytics to support quality improvement and payment reform, and aligning metrics and data infrastructure across payers and initiatives.

Evaluation findings from Year 2 of SIM Round 1

In SIM Round 1, Model Test awards were made to six states: Arkansas, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, and Vermont. The SIM Initiative has made notable progress in accelerating health care transformation among the Round 1 Test states. Over time, many states have been able to increase the populations served by their SIM-supported models.

  • Over 70% of eligible Medicaid primary care providers participate in Arkansas’ patient-centered medical home, which serves about 80% of their eligible Medicaid population.
  • Alternative payment models supported by SIM funds in Minnesota and Vermont are reaching about 50% of each state’s total population, with Oregon and Vermont also reaching over 80% of their total Medicaid population.

The evaluation found that states have been successful in engaging a wide swath of the payer, provider, purchaser, and patient communities and building stakeholder consensus by balancing standardization and flexibility when expanding payment reforms statewide. States have leveraged multi-payer efforts to implement payment and delivery system reforms, engaged the provider community in SIM-related activities, and used a range of policy levers to effect change. Some of the most substantial changes to delivery systems and payment methods are in areas where public and private payers are working together to accelerate transformation. For example:

  • In Arkansas, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, QualChoice and some large self-insured employer groups, including Walmart, participate in the SIM-supported patient-centered medical home and episode of care models.
  • Vermont’s SIM Initiative focuses on supporting Accountable Care Organizations. Providers participating in both Medicaid and commercial ACOs now represent a significant majority of the state’s available primary care providers. ACOs offer services to nearly all residents statewide, and about half of eligible beneficiaries were participating as of late 2014.
  • In Oregon, participation in the Coordinated Care Model under the SIM Initiative currently includes commercial insurance carriers contracting with the state to cover state employees and Medicaid beneficiaries.

It remains too early to attribute specific quantitative results directly to the SIM Initiative. However, analyses based on Medicare and commercial populations show that states were making progress on health outcomes, such as declines in emergency room visits and inpatient readmissions through models pre-dating SIM and models upon which SIM efforts are expanding. Future evaluation reports will provide more detail on quantitative results and whether and how the SIM Initiative is affecting and accelerating trends in health outcomes and spending.

SIM Supports Health Care Transformation

The Affordable Care Act provides tools through the CMS Innovation Center, like the SIM Initiative, to move our health care system toward one that provides better care to patients, spends dollars more wisely, and results in healthier communities. Today’s announcement is part of the Administration’s broader strategy to improve the health care system by paying providers for what works, unlocking health care data, and finding new ways to coordinate and integrate patient care to improve quality.

In 2015, the Administration announced goals for Medicare to tie payment to quality or value. These goals are for 30 percent of Medicare fee-for-service payments to be made through alternative payment models by the end of 2016 (and 50 percent by 2018), and tying 85 percent of payments to quality or value by 2016 (90 percent by 2018). In early 2016, the Secretary announced that HHS had reached its goal of 30 percent of Medicare payments made through alternative payment models ahead of schedule. HHS is also working with private payers, employers, consumers, providers, states and state Medicaid programs, and other partners to expand alternative payment models. Initiatives like SIM are an important part of states’ role in health care transformation and tying payments to quality or value.

Looking to the future, we are also seeking input through an RFI on the following concepts related to the evolution of the SIM Initiative:

  • Partnering with states to implement delivery and payment models across multiple payers in a state that could qualify as Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) or Advanced Other Payer APMs under the proposed Quality Payment Program, making it easier for eligible clinicians in a state to become qualifying APM participants and earn the APM incentive;
  • Implementing financial accountability for health outcomes for an entire state’s population;
  • Assessing the impact of specific care interventions across multiple states, and;
  • Facilitating alignment of state and federal payment and service delivery reform efforts, and streamline interaction between the Federal government and states.

For more information on the RFI, please visit: https://innovation.cms.gov/Files/x/sim-rfi.pdf.  To be assured consideration, RFI comments must be received by October 28, 2016.  Comments should be submitted electronically to: SIM.RFI@cms.hhs.gov with “RFI” in the subject line.

CMS supports states through SIM and other innovation efforts to move towards this vision of multi-payer delivery system reform across an entire state.  Health system transformation and improvement happens at the state and local level and CMS will continue to support states in their transformation journey to improve care for people across the nation.

Helping Consumers Make Care Choices through Hospital Compare

By: Kate Goodrich, MD, MHS, Director of Center for Clinical Standards and Quality

When individuals and their families need to make important decisions about health care, they seek a reliable way to understand the best choice for themselves or their loved ones. That’s why over the past decade, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published information about the quality of care across the five different health care settings that most families encounter.[1] These easy-to-understand star ratings are available online and empower people to compare and choose across various types of facilities from nursing homes to home health agencies. Today, we are updating the star ratings on the Hospital Compare website to help millions of patients and their families learn about the quality of hospitals, compare facilities in their area side-by-side, and ask important questions about care quality when visiting a hospital or other health care provider.

Today’s ratings include the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating that reflects comprehensive quality information about the care provided at our nation’s hospitals. The new Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating methodology takes 64 existing quality measures already reported on the Hospital Compare website and summarizes them into a unified rating of one to five stars. The rating includes quality measures for routine care that the average individual receives, such as care received when being treated for heart attacks and pneumonia, to quality measures that focus on hospital-acquired infections, such as catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Specialized and cutting edge care that certain hospitals provide such as specialized cancer care, are not reflected in these quality ratings.

We have received numerous letters from national patient and consumer advocacy groups supporting the release of these ratings because it improves the transparency and accessibility of hospital quality information. In addition, researchers found that hospitals with more stars on the Hospital Compare website have tended to have lower death and readmission rates.[2],[3]

Prior to publishing the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating, we paused to give hospitals additional time to better understand our methodology and data. In response, we delayed the release of the ratings. Since then, we have conducted significant outreach and education to hospitals to understand their concerns and directly answered their questions, including:

  • Hosting two National Provider Calls with over 4,000 hospital representatives. During the calls, we walked through the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating data and the methodology in detail while responding to questions that the attendees raised.
  • Providing specialized assistance to hospitals. We held numerous meetings with the hospital associations and individual hospitals to explain their data and answer questions.
  • Posting an evaluation of the national distributions of the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating based on hospital characteristics. The analysis shows that all types of hospitals have both high performing and low performing hospitals.
  • Subjecting the measures used to calculate the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating to rigorous scientific review and risk adjustment. All of the measures used to calculate the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating are based on clinical guidelines and have undergone a rigorous scientific review and testing. The vast majority are endorsed by the National Quality Forum. Most of these quality measures are already adjusted for clinical co-morbidities to account for the illness-burden of the population. Some hospitals have raised the question of making additional adjustments to account for the sociodemographic characteristics of the patients they serve. We continue to work closely with the National Quality Forum and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), who is required by the IMPACT Act to study the effect of socioeconomic status on quality measures and payment programs based on measures. We will work with ASPE and determine what next steps, if any, should be taken to adjust our measures based on the recommendations in the report.

CMS will continue to analyze the star rating data and consider public feedback to make enhancements to the scoring methodology as needed. The star rating will be updated quarterly, and will incorporate new measures as they are publicly reported on the website as well as remove measures retired from the quality reporting programs.

Today, we are taking a step forward in our commitment to transparency by releasing the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating. We have been posting star ratings for different facilities for a decade and have found that publicly available data drives improvement, better reporting, and more open access to quality information for our Medicare beneficiaries. We will continue to work closely with hospitals and other stakeholders to enhance the Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating based on feedback and experience.

These star rating programs are part of the Administration’s Open Data Initiative which aims to make government data freely available and useful while ensuring privacy, confidentiality, and security.

For more information please see https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-07-27.html.

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[1] CMS Compare websites include: Nursing Home Compare; Physician Compare; Medicare Plan Finder; Dialysis Compare; and Home Health Compare.

[2] Wang DE, Tsugawa Y, Figueroa JF, Jha AK. Association Between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Star Rating and Patient Outcomes. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(6):848-850. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.0784. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2513630

[3] Trzeciak, S. Gaughan, J. Mazzarelli, A. Association Between Medicare Summary Star Ratings and Clinical Outcomes in US Hospitals. Journal of Patient Experience. 2016 vol. 3 no. 1 2374373516636681 doi: 10.1177/2374373516636681 http://jpx.sagepub.com/content/3/1/2374373516636681.abstract

Advancing Health Equity for Sexual and Gender Minorities

By: Cara V. James, Ph.D., Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Each June we celebrate National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month by increasing awareness of sexual and gender minority populations’ health disparities and advances in promoting health equity for all.

However, despite making progress on a state and national level with inclusive policies, this June we have been reminded that there are still many challenges to overcome. In many places young people are still distanced from their families because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. For many sexual and gender minorities in the U.S. it is still difficult to be out to family, friends, and co-workers. A survey of U.S. adults found that more than 75% of lesbian, gay, or bisexual respondents reported experiencing discrimination in their lifetime. Experiences of discrimination and unfair treatment have been linked to poor health outcomes among older adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). These stressors and impacts are amplified when individuals identify with multiple marginalized groups (e.g., sexual, gender, and/or racial minority). That said, studies have shown that LGBT individuals who have good social support have higher self-esteem, a more positive group identity, and more positive mental health.

Although we commonly speak about the LGBT community as a single population it is important to remember that it is actually made up of many diverse individuals from many unique backgrounds and just about as many different ways of identifying themselves. At CMS it is especially important to remember that racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and older adults may also be sexual and gender minorities.

The CMS Office of Minority Health strives to increase understanding and awareness of disparities, create and share solutions to address those disparities, and implement effective actions to achieve health equity. To that end, we are developing a web-based training to aid providers in the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data. We are working on a new best practices tool box for providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) with an emphasis on sexual and gender minorities and people with disabilities.

What can you do? Get informed. Learn more about health disparities for sexual minorities age 65 and older in CMS’ June data brief. Find out about the Office for Civil Rights’ rule highlighting your right to be free from discrimination in health careimplementing regulations under on the basis of sex, including sex stereotyping and gender identity. You can also learn more about LGBT health and well-being by looking at the work of our sister agencies within HHS. Think about how you can contribute to bringing health equity to your work. We encourage you to join us on the path to health equity by using the resources discussed in this blog, bookmarking the CMS OMH website, joining our listserv, and of course building on your own health equity activities!

CMS Provides Additional Resources to Improve Care and Prepare for the Quality Payment Program for Clinicians

By: Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, CMS Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer

Last year, an overwhelmingly bipartisan Congressional majority – with the support of the medical community and stakeholders – passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, or MACRA. The law ended more than a decade of last-minute fixes and 17 potential payment “cliffs” for thousands of Medicare fee-for-service clinicians, while moving away from paying for each service a physician provides towards a system that rewards physicians for coordinating their patient’s care and improving the quality of care delivered.

Over the past year, we have worked in the same spirit as the law’s model of partnership and progress as we implement policies to improve the health and well-being of Americans. Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announces up to $10 million over the next three years to fund the second round of the Support and Alignment Networks under the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI).

TCPI currently consists of 39 national and regional health care networks and supporting organizations – Practice Transformation Networks and Support and Alignment Networks – that provide assistance to thousands of clinicians in all 50 states to improve care coordination and quality and to better understand their patients’ needs. These networks are a key support for clinicians preparing for the payment changes under MACRA by helping clinicians transform the way they deliver care and participate in Alternative Payment Models (APMs), a key part of the proposed Quality Payment Program.

Eligible Medicare clinicians in the proposed Quality Payment Program who sufficiently participate in Advanced APMs could receive a 5 percent bonus Medicare payment beginning in 2019 for their participation in the 2017 performance period. Eligible clinicians who participate in the proposed Quality Payment Program through the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) could also benefit from participating in APMs. By participating in these models, the eligible clinicians could receive a favorable scoring standard under MIPS, as well as extra credit in the Clinical Practice Improvement Activities performance category. Clinicians who perform well under MIPS in the 2017 performance period may qualify for up to a 4 percent Medicare payment adjustment in 2019, with additional bonuses for the highest performers.

TCPI helps more clinicians to improve quality, coordinate care, and spend dollars more wisely by providing peer-to-peer support to primary and specialty physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical pharmacists, and their practices. For clinicians that elect to participate in MIPS, this support will help them be successful. Participating networks also disseminate best practices and provide technical assistance and coaching to practices that are moving towards participation in APMs.

Today’s announcement continues to support clinicians across the country in transforming their practices by requiring competitive applications to have signed commitments to enroll a minimum 5,000 or more eligible clinicians and their practices in their network. These clinician practices must be advanced in delivering high-quality and efficient care, so that they can quickly learn from the initiative, support improvement at scale, and join APMs.

As a practicing physician, I know the importance of quality improvement support and sharing of best practices to help clinicians transform their practice and deliver outstanding care to every patient.

CMS encourages all qualified entities to apply for the Support and Alignment Network 2.0 funding opportunity so that we can continue to build on the successes we have made so far.

If you are a clinician who is interested in finding a Support and Alignment Network or Practice Transformation Network near your practice, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-09-29.html.

For more information on the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, please visit: https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Transforming-Clinical-Practices/.

For a fact sheet on the Support and Alignment Network 2.0 Funding Opportunity Announcement, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-06-10.html.

CMS Continues Progress toward a Safer Health Care System through Integrated Efforts to Improve Patient Safety and Reduce Hospital Readmissions

By: Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, CMS Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Chief Medical Officer

We know that it is possible to improve national patient safety performance resulting in millions of people avoiding infections and adverse health events. A report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality back in December showed an unprecedented 39 percent reduction in preventable patient harm in U.S. hospitals compared to the 2010 baseline. This has resulted in 2.1 million fewer patients harmed, 87,000 lives saved, and nearly $20 billion in cost-savings from 2010 to 2014. The nation has also made substantial progress in reducing 30-day hospital readmissions.

I have been working in the field of quality improvement for 20 years, and I have never before seen results such as these. This work, though, is far from done, and it is imperative that we sustain and strengthen efforts to address patient safety problems, such as central line infections and hospital readmissions. Today, we at CMS are excited to continue progress toward a safer health care system by releasing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks (HIINs).

The HIINs, which will be part of the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) initiative, will continue the good work started by the Hospital Engagement Networks (HENs) under the Partnership for Patients initiative. These organizations will tap into the deep experience, capabilities and impact of QIOs, hospital associations, hospital systems, and national hospital affinity organizations with extensive experience in hospital quality improvement. The HIINs will engage and support the nation’s hospitals, patients, and their caregivers in work to implement and spread well-tested, evidence-based best practices.

QIOs that have developed strong relationship with HENs under the Partnership for Patients initiative have decades of experience with quality improvement and are currently supporting more than 250 communities nationally in work to improve care transitions and reduce adverse drug events across a wide variety of health care and community-based organizations.  HENs involved in supporting the Partnership for Patients initiative have established relationships and trusted partnerships with over 3,700 acute care hospitals. These efforts involve approximately 80 percent of all people discharged from hospitals across the nation.

The further integration of work across these influential networks will permit the continued and increased systematic use of proven practices to improve patient safety and reduce readmissions, at a national scale in all U.S. hospitals. Through 2019, the new HIINs will commit to and pursue bold new national aims to achieve a 20 percent decrease in overall patient harm and a 12 percent reduction in 30-day hospital readmissions as a population-based measure (readmissions per 1,000 people) from the 2014 baseline, thereby bolstering the impact of both the QIO program and the Partnership for Patients.

The procurement for the HIINs will be a full and open competition, and CMS encourages all interested parties to submit a proposal that will continue to build on the successes achieved so far. Organizations who were a HEN in the first and second rounds of the Partnership for Patients or QIOs and other organizations that meet the RFP criteria are welcome to submit a proposal for the HIIN opportunity, but will compete for selection against all other organizations submitting proposals.

More information about today’s RFP may be found at FedBizOpps.gov.

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