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Press Release


Apr 11, 2008

States Chosen to Participate in Health Care Quality Improvement Institute

Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington to address health care quality issues with assistance from AcademyHealth and The Commonwealth Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 11, 2008)—In the face of sobering reports of highly variable health care delivery across the nation, as reported in The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System's State Scorecard, nine states have been selected to participate in the State Quality Improvement Institute—an intensive, competitively-selected effort to help states plan and implement concrete action plans to improve performance across targeted quality indicators. The State Quality Institute is a collaboration of AcademyHealth and The Commonwealth Fund.

Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington were selected for the Institute through a competitive process designed to identify states with the commitment, leadership, and resources necessary to build on previous success and conceptualize and implement substantive new quality improvement efforts.

"Our State Scorecard on Health System Performance found that we could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars if all states could achieve the level of the top performers on key indicators of health outcomes, quality, access, efficiency, and equity," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "The State Quality Institute will allow states to learn best practices to improve health care quality, and is an important step toward achieving a high performing health care system in the U.S."

"A number of states submitted high-quality applications for the Institute and many demonstrated commitment and progress," said Enrique Martinez-Vidal, vice president at AcademyHealth. "These nine states are best positioned to take immediate advantage of the Institute's resources and move forward with ongoing improvement efforts in their home states."

Each state will convene a team, led by a designee selected by the Governor, to participate in a highly interactive process for developing policy and program strategies. Participant teams will have the opportunity to work with expert faculty to assess current challenges, analyze strategic policy options, and revise or refine current state-specific plans. Teams will also meet with participating policymakers from other states to network and share their experiences and best practices. The State Quality Institute faculty will share their expertise in various quality domains including: value-based purchasing; data collection and transparency; care coordination; and disease prevention and wellness promotion.

Selected state teams represent a variety of key stakeholders from the public and private sector. These include state-level officials such as the governor's health policy advisor, the health and/or health services department secretary, the Medicaid director, the insurance commissioner, legislators (or staff), and the state employee health plan administrator. Teams also include decision makers from key private payers, major purchasers/employers, and the advocacy community, as well as representatives from the medical provider community, including hospitals, physicians, and other practitioners.

The institute kicks off in April 2008 and concludes in the spring of 2009.

Institute activities include:

  • Site visits to each selected state to facilitate team planning, prepare state team members for the Institute, and provide an opportunity to review and discuss the state's quality improvement goals and strategies;
  • A customized and highly interactive policy development meeting with teams from all the participating states and expert faculty to review the states' baseline performance on a variety of measures—focusing primarily on quality and efficiency—and stimulate work on state action plans for quality improvement;
  • Individual technical assistance, including background research, on-site consultation visits, telephone consultations with expert faculty, and other support;
  • Online training and support through a project Web site, bulletin board for state team members, and ongoing cyber seminars; and
  • A final meeting to evaluate states' progress and learn from the experience of others participating in the meeting.

    "Ensuring that Americans get the best quality care for their health care dollar is a complex, national problem," says Anne Gauthier, senior policy director for the Commonwealth Fund who oversees the initiative. "The State Quality Institute is designed to take a targeted, systematic approach to help states make measurable improvements in key areas—and ultimately to share those experiences for the benefit of others struggling with similar challenges."

    About AcademyHealthAcademyHealth is the professional home for health services researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners, and a leading, non-partisan resource for the best in health research and policy. AcademyHealth promotes interaction across the health research and policy arenas by bringing together a broad spectrum of players to share their perspectives, learn from each other, and strengthen their working relationships. AcademyHealth seeks to improve health and health care by generating new knowledge and moving knowledge into action. For more information visit: About The Commonwealth Fund The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults. The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. The Program on State Innovations aims to improve state and national health system performance by supporting, stimulating, and spreading integrated, state-level strategies for expanding access to care and promoting high-quality, efficient care, particularly for vulnerable populations.