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With Cuts Looming, QIOs Find Abundant Support

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 14, 2013

"Now that the QIOs' role in healthcare quality improvement has changed, it is time to think about new and better ways to approach QIO work. Beginning in August 2014, we will launch the next round of QIO Program contracts with a new approach to essential program operations and the service areas for QIOs. In doing so, we hope to maximize program efficiency while improving the quality of care Medicare beneficiaries receive."

Mark Parkinson, president/CEO of AHCA, which represents more than 12,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes, said that any changes that could potentially disrupt more than three decades of careful and structured collaboration between QIOs and local providers would prove counterproductive.

"For more than a decade, our skilled nursing members from across the country built trusted, productive working relationships with their QIO," Parkinson said. "Attempting to recreate these relationships with an organization operating several states away dismantles the progress the profession has made, and takes precious time and resources away from a currently beneficial system."

Parkinson said that federally funded but locally based QIOs work closely with local providers, consumers and stakeholders across the continuum of care in every state to ensure patient safety, adopt best clinical practices and improve systems of healthcare delivery.

QIO advocates point to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association this year that found a 6% drop in both hospitalizations and readmissions among Medicare recipients because of the work of QIOs in 14 pilot communities.

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