How to Structure a Healthcare Performance Improvement Process That Results in Incentive Payments

Monday, March 26th, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Already on a quest to accelerate clinical excellence, Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Ill. was the first hospital to sign on with the CMS/Premier Hospital Quality Improvement Demonstration in 2003. Jim Benté, Memorial’s vice president of quality and organizational development, said the initiative was a natural extension of Memorial’s focus on safety, quality and clinical excellence. A top performer in the demonstration project, Memorial initiates employees in its culture of quality from the day they’re hired, explains Benté. To emphasize this commitment, department and individual goals in this initiative are prominently displayed throughout the hospital.

Technology that allows Cleveland Regional Medical Center (CRMC) to conduct concurrent chart reviews also generates reports that guide nurses and physicians in improving the patient experience, explained Liz Popwell, Cleveland County Healthcare Systems’ vice president of systems management. A holistic approach to outpatient care — including proper discharge instructions, disease-specific survival kits, and outpatient care analysis — has resulted in a 37 percent drop in hospital readmissions. The challenge to maintaining CRMC’s top rating in the Premier Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration Project, she said, is ensuring that new staff members are adequately trained in core measures and processes.

Robots — dispensing meds in the pharmacy, assisting in the operating room, and even facilitating remote doctors’ rounds — is just one example of the technology supporting quality initiatives at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), explained Regina Berman, administrative director for performance improvement. As the top earner in the CMS/Premier Pay for Performance project for two years running, HUMC has seen a “reverse migration” of patients who used to head to New York for medical care, said Ms. Berman. Its bariatric surgery program draws patients from around the nation, and its cancer center 100 attracts new patients each week. Just 10 miles from the Big Apple, HUMC has been cited by Business Week magazine for its technology initiatives and by New York magazine as one of the top 10 hospitals where physicians would go for their own care. She attributes the success of HUMC to involvement and commitment of front-line staff.

Benté, Berman, and Popwell gave us the inside details on how these hospitals have structured their internal processes to support an environment of performance improvement that has led to quality incentive payments from CMS under the Hospital Quality Improvement program during an April 18, 2007 audio conference, How to Structure a Healthcare Performance Improvement Process That Results in Incentive Payments.

Click here to listen to comments from Berman, Benté and Popwell online.

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