CMS Launches Next Phase of New Quality Improvement Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last week awarded contracts as part of a restructuring of the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program to create a new approach to improve care for beneficiaries, families and caregivers. The new contracts being awarded to 14 organizations represent the second phase of QIO restructuring.  Awardees will work with providers and communities across the country on data-driven quality initiatives. These QIOs will be known as Quality Innovation Network (QIN)-QIOs.
Specifically, each QIN-QIO will work on strategic initiatives such as reducing health care associated infections, reducing readmissions and medication errors, working with nursing facilities 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 health care 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.  
As a result of the changes, while some hospitals and providers will now work with a different QIO than in the past, the VHQC (formerly known as the Virginia Health Quality Center) was awarded the contract to work with Virginia and Maryland. The new QIN-QIO contracts were competitively awarded the five-year contract effective on August 1, 2014.