New Contractor For Medicare Consumers With Quality of Care Concerns

July 22, 2014

Medicare consumers will see changes in the CMS Beneficiary and Family-Centered Care (BFCC) program, including a new contact to address quality of care concerns.

Topeka, Kan. – For the past 40 years, the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC) has been honored to serve Medicare consumers by providing them a voice through conducting quality of care reviews, discharge and termination of service appeals and other areas of required review in various provider settings. This review has been performed by KFMC as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) designated Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) in Kansas.

"KFMC has worked hard to ensure each Medicare consumer concern we review is treated fairly and receives the highest level of service," said Sarah Irsik-Good, MHA, Director of Quality Improvement. "Quality of care review is essential to improving the quality of care all Kansans receive."

While this work has traditionally been done by the state QIO, changes have been made by CMS to restructure the QIO program. These changes include identifying a new contractor to support the program’s case review and monitoring activities that will be separate from the traditional quality improvement activities of the QIO. The contractor that will provide services to Kansas Medicare consumers will be KePRO, located in Seven Hills, Ohio. This change is effective August 1, 2014. After August 1, any Kansas Medicare consumer with concerns regarding the medical care they have received should contact KePRO at 855-408-8557 or TTY users can call 855-843-4776.

Great Plains QIN Quality Innovation Network Contract Awarded

July 21, 2014

The Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, CIMRO of Nebraska, North Dakota Health Care Review, Inc., and the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care recently aligned to form a new not‐for‐profit organization - the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN). Today, the newly‐formed Great Plains QIN is pleased to announce our award of the CMS contract to serve as the Quality Innovation Network‐Quality Improvement Organization for the states of Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The formation of the Great Plains QIN reflects changes to legislation that impacts the structure of the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program. The program has been split into two separate contract structures – one for medical case review, performed by Beneficiary Family Centered Care QIOs (BFCCQIOs) and one for quality improvement and technical assistance QIOs, performed by Quality Innovation Network QIOs (QIN‐QIOs).

While the new QIN‐QIO structure requires a multi‐state regional approach, much of the work will continue to be carried out on a statewide level. Each of the four Great Plains QIN partners will continue to work with providers in each state to offer quality improvement expertise and technical assistance. Each QIN state partner will also offer tailored education, tools and resources and will work with healthcare providers and the community to implement data‐driven quality initiatives. Through these efforts, we intend to improve patient safety, reduce harm and improve clinical care at the local and regional levels. The alliance also offers greater opportunities to collaborate with and learn from providers across state lines while maintaining access to local resources.

Specifically, each QIN‐QIO will work on strategic initiatives, such as reducing healthcare‐associated infections; reducing readmissions and medication errors; working with nursing homes to improve care for residents; supporting clinical practices in using interoperable health information technology to enable the exchange of essential health information to improve the coordination of care; promoting prevention activities, reducing cardiac disease and diabetes; reducing healthcare disparities and improving patient and family engagement. QIN‐QIOs will also provide technical assistance for improvement in CMS value based purchasing programs, including the physician value based modifier program.

Tina Georgy, Chief Executive Officer of Great Plains QIN, stated, "We are very pleased to receive this competitive award. Each of the four Great Plains QIN state partners share a commitment to improving quality of care and working to ensure that all patients receive the right care, at the right time, every time. Working together within a four‐state network, each organization will continue their focus on improving care in conjunction with state partners, while pooling resources and common elements into an organization that can best serve the needs of healthcare providers and Medicare beneficiaries across the Great Plains region."

The Great Plains QIN will oversee the administration of the CMS contract throughout the four‐state region. The Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, CIMRO of Nebraska, the North Dakota Health Care Review, Inc. and the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care will each serve as subcontractors.

KFMC and KHC Receive Awards for Healthcare Quality Improvement from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

On December 13, 2016, The Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, Inc. (KFMC) and the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative (KHC) each received awards for their work in reducing excessive hospital readmissions and hospital-acquired infections over the past five years. The awards were presented at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) annual Quality Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

KFMC and KHC were honored to receive the awards, sponsored by the National Partnership for Patients Initiative, for “Diligent work, authentic collaboration with patients, clinicians and partners and unprecedented national impact on patient safety in all U.S. hospitals.” The Partnership for Patients Initiative claims success of 87,000 lives saved; 2.1 million fewer patient harms and $19.8 billion in cost savings to date. The National Partnership for Patients Initiative was created by CMS leaders, Dr. Paul McGann, Dennis Wagner, and Jean D. Moody-Williams. “The Kansas Foundation for Medical Care is honored to receive this award from CMS for the work that we do on behalf of Medicare patients in our state and region. We will continue to partner with healthcare providers, stakeholders and business partners in Kansas and regionally to improve health and health outcomes for patients,” said KFMC President and Chief Executive Officer Karen Braman, RPh, MS.

“Kansas Healthcare Collaborative appreciates this recognition of our work in partnership with Kansas hospitals,” said KHC Executive Director Kendra Tinsley, MS, CPPS. “Through patient-centered, quality improvement efforts that include services at no charge, resources and expertise for medical professionals, we will continue to help hospitals make health care safer by reducing the number of health care-acquired conditions and preventable readmissions, which will ultimately reduce the cost of health care, too.”

KFMC is a member of the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN), the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) serving Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Great Plains QIN partners with healthcare providers and communities to implement data-driven quality initiatives to improve healthcare.

KFMC offers technical assistance, tailored education, best practices, tools and resources to providers and clinicians at NO COST. Healthcare providers, patients, and other stakeholders are highly encouraged to participate in our Learning and Action Networks (LANs). Topics include cardiac care, diabetic care, healthcare infections, medication safety, nursing home improvement, cancer prevention and Health Information Technology (HIT). Recently, antibiotic stewardship and the misuse of opioid drug LANs were added.

KHC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming health care through patient-centered initiatives that improve quality, safety and value. Formed in 2008, KHC acts as a resource to enhance the care Kansans receive by engaging and aligning with providers to continually improve health care quality and patient outcomes. For more information about KHC, visit the website at khconline.org.


Left to right: CMS leaders Dr. Paul McGann, Chief Medical Officer for Quality Improvement; Jean Moody-Williams, Deputy Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality; KFMC team members Kaitlin Nolte; Sarah Good, Director of Quality Improvement; Megan Skaggs; Nadyne Hagmeier, RN; Tisha Carlson; Dana Thompson; Karen Braman, Chief Executive Officer; and CMS leader Dennis Wagner, Director, Quality Improvement and Innovation Group. Each CMS official was recently honored with the prestigious Federal Employee of the Year Award, one of the Samuel J Heyman Service to America Medals, otherwise known as the Sammies.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Improvement Efforts Earn National Recognition

Great Plains Quality Innovation Network honored during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness kick-off event

March 7, 2017

The Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, Inc. (KFMC), a not-for-profit organization based in Topeka, KS, recently earned national recognition for efforts to improve colorectal cancer screening rates. KFMC is a member of the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network, the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) serving Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The Great Plains QIN was chosen by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) to receive the 2017 80% by 2018 National Achievement Honoree Award. This prestigious national honor recognizes leadership in the ongoing effort to increase colorectal cancer screening rates across the United States. Following a competitive review of nominees, Great Plains QIN was chosen as one of six organizations from across the country to be recognized for their dedication of time, talent and expertise to advancing initiatives that support the shared goal to regularly screen 80% of adults age 50 and over by 2018.

Co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NCCRT is chaired by Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer for the American Cancer Society. “We are moving full speed ahead in our efforts to reach an ambitious public health goal: an 80% colorectal cancer screening rate by 2018. Fortunately, we have boots on the ground working every day to reach this goal. Their work is relentless, their successes are enormous, and I’m confident that they are saving lives,” Wender stated.

Great Plains QIN Chief Executive Officer Tina Georgy considered the success a regional effort, "Partnering with stakeholders from across the four-state region increased awareness of the value of colorectal cancer screening. The collective effort of stakeholders and staff providing education and support resulted in increased screening rates and the expansion of the innovative FluFIT program into a variety of settings, including federally qualified health centers (FQHC), Indian Health Service clinics and pharmacy sites."

To be recognized for this honor, Great Plains QIN facilitated a regional Learning and Action Network, a collaborative effort focused on the importance of colorectal cancer screenings. Education and training was offered as well as technical assistance to support evidence-based systems change interventions at 57 clinics, 17 of which are Kansas practices. Of the 43 clinics currently able to track their screening rates, all have reported improvements; one Kansas practice, Prairie Star Family Practice in Plainville, Kansas, screened as many as 84% of eligible patients.

Sarah Irsik-Good, Director of Quality Improvement at KFMC, reflected on the achievement of Prairie Star Family Practice, “We are very excited that one of our Kansas practices has already achieved the 80% screening goal well ahead of the 2018 mark! We are working to harness their success, promising practices and lessons learned to help other practices improve by providing a model that has proven to work in the rural Kansas healthcare environment.”

Dr. Jen Brull, physician owner of Prairie Star Family Practice, recently presented their improvement journey to participating practices across the four state Great Plains region and shared the following about their success, “One of my passions is performance improvement, so the process of improving our colon cancer screening rate is one that is interesting to me at base. The benefit to my patients of earlier detection is one I strongly support and love to tell patients about. I suspect my enthusiasm for both contributes to my team's success at getting patients screened.”

Collaborations with a diverse group of healthcare organizations across the region raise awareness of the value and options for colorectal cancer screening. Shannon Bacon, health systems manager for the Great West Division of the American Cancer Society remarked, “Great Plains QIN has been a vital partner in improving colorectal cancer screening rates across their four-state region. Staff expertise, leadership and willingness to collaborate with other organizations have resulted in more people being screened for colorectal cancer. I truly believe that lives will be saved as a result of their success.”

The NCCRT hosted honorees, including Great Plains QIN team members, for a recognition event to kick off National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month on March 1 in New York City's Times Square. Find the full list of 2017 80% by 2018 National Achievement Award winners and detailed information on the NCCRT at http://nccrt.org.

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