When hospitals report their health care quality data, patients can make more informed health care decisions – which can lead to improved patient outcomes. In Texas, critical access hospitals are not required to report quality data. But work by TMF Health Quality Institute, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Texas*, to improve voluntary reporting by critical access hospitals (CAHs) in Texas has resulted in almost complete participation, with 78 out of 79 Texas CAHs reporting on at least one quality measure as of September 2013.
TMF created the Quality Reporting and Improvement Network in 2011, under its Quality Improvement Organization contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Network brings hospitals, stakeholders and TMF consultants together to share best practices and current reporting requirements, with the goal of educating hospitals on Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) and Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) requirements and maximizing hospital performance and participation in the programs. TMF provides the Network with technical assistance on the topics of implementing and monitoring quality improvement efforts as well as education on quality reporting topics.
Engaging local stakeholder organizations – including the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, State Office of Rural Health, Texas Hospital Association, and the Texas A&M Health Science Center Rural and Community Hospital Institute – in promotion and support of the Network was crucial to TMF’s success. As a result of these partnerships, the number of Texas CAHs reporting their quality data rose steadily, from 39 of 79 total reporting IQR and only seven reporting OQR in early 2011 to 78 reporting IQR and 75 reporting OQR in September 2013.
By making quality data available to CMS, these hospitals are demonstrating to their patients, patient family members and communities a sincere commitment to providing quality health care. TMF continues to encourage Texas CAHs to report their quality measures, with the goal of soon achieving 100 percent participation.
*In spring of 2014, CMS determined to separate the consumer type protection activities - case review, beneficiary complaint and appeals - from the quality improvement work for the QIO program going forward. As of August 1, Texas is represented by two Quality Improvement Organizations. TMF Health Quality Institute has formed the TMF Quality Innovation Network Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) with subcontractors Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, Primaris in Missouri and the Quality Improvement Professional Research Organization, Inc. in Puerto Rico to provide quality improvement work throughout Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico. Beneficiary and family centered care services are now provided by KEPRO.