RWJF Selects Innovative Projects for Improving Quality

    • January 19, 2010

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has selected nine organizations to receive awards through the Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q): Development Fund. The Development Fund supports particularly innovative and exemplary practices for improving quality in select regions.

The AF4Q Development Fund expands upon RWJF’s commitment to lift the quality of health care provided in targeted communities across the nation. It provides local organizations with the opportunity to develop innovative practices in three focus areas:

  • Health Information Technology (HIT)
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Payment Reform

“Health reform is a national issue, but changes in the health care system are being made locally, in hospitals and physician offices throughout our Aligning Forces for Quality communities,” said Anne F. Weiss, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and director of the Foundation’s Quality/Equality Team. “We want to enhance local efforts to improve the quality of care, because what happens in one community has the potential to inform others and significantly improve health care nationwide. The Development Fund will allow communities to explore innovations in three areas that are front-and-center in Federal policy efforts to improve the health care delivery system: health information technology, patient-centered care, and payment reform.”

AF4Q Development Fund award recipients include:

Health Information Technology (HIT)

  • Wisconsin—Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services will work to leverage HIT to reduce avoidable emergency department (ED) visits from patients with treatable primary care conditions. The goal is to optimize the functionality of the HIT system to support these best practices and build a business case to sustain the ED Care Coordination initiative to improve ED care coordination within and across the community and the cost effectiveness of care for all patients.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico—Lovelace Clinic Foundation seeks to measure the extent that a health information exchange reduces duplicate diagnostic tests and how it is used by clinicians.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio—HealthBridge will work with primary care medical home practices to support data integration, data reporting and other needed practice improvements. They will promote connectivity and patient data integration using HealthBridge databases.

Patient-centered Care

  • Minnesota—Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement will engage patients in shared decision-making (SDM) during palliative care periods. Pilot new or existing SDM tools that ensure active participation from patients.
  • Willamette Valley, Oregon—Oregon Health Care Quality Corp seeks to facilitate change by embedding patients within six local health plans and delivery systems. Technical assistance will include on-site coaching and development of a system to support patient advisors.
  • Maine—Maine Quality Counts will strengthen consumer presence in ambulatory care by engaging consumers directly in governance and helping transform 26 primary care medical homes practices to become more patient-centered. Consumers will be trained and serve on Patient- Family Leadership Teams in the community.

Payment Reform

  • Willamette Valley, Oregon—Oregon Health Care Quality Corp will establish community-wide specific measures, measurement processes and implementation details for a reformed care payment system. The proposed reforms will add severity-adjusted care coordination payments and outcome-based bonuses to existing fee-for-service payments in primary care practices.
  • Puget Sound, Washington—Puget Sound Health Alliance will bring together public and private payers and providers to identify reimbursement methods that align incentives around primary care medical homes. The goal will be to develop specific payment reforms that sustain a medical home model.
  • Maine—Maine Health Management Coalition Foundation seeks to identify unwarranted variation in cost and utilization for preference sensitive, supply sensitive and effective care. This will be used to calculate risk-adjusted annual per capita spending for population cohorts and advance a new incentivized payment model.