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Hospital Quality Improvement

On May 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a request to its Network of Quality Improvement and Innovation Contractors (NQIIC) for proposals to support a new initiative entitled Hospital Quality Improvement Contractor (HQIC). Pronounced "H-quick," the four-year effort is designed to support rural and critical access hospitals, as well as those hospitals serving vulnerable populations. CMS has identified more than 2,600 hospitals nationally who are eligible to participate, including 38 hospitals in Arizona. CMS anticipates making its HQIC awards in mid-September 2020.

AzHHA is pleased to announce it is working with Cynosure, a potential HQIC, to facilitate healthcare transformation through the identification, use, and spread of evidence-based practice and improvement science in our state. AzHHA decided to partner with Cynosure because they have a team of subject matter experts—physicians, nurses and pharmacists—who AzHHA have worked with on other quality improvement programs, including HEN and HIIN. Not only are they trusted partners, they are innovative, creative and responsive. Cynosure clinical experts have a track record for quickly identifying factors contributing to lack of progress and creating a plan to act based deep knowledge of the literature, emerging evidence and best practices to translate quality and patient safety concepts into on-the-ground skills.

HQICs will focus on supporting participating hospitals to identify goals, adapt and test best-practices to achieve measurable improvements in high-priority healthcare challenges, including the following goals, which are aligned with the CMS Rural Health Strategy:

  • Improve behavioral health outcomes, with a focus on decreased opioid misuse
  • Increase patient safety with a focus on reduction of harm (similar to HIIN)
  • Increase the quality of care transitions with a focus on high utilizers

In addition, this program will support hospitals responding to public health emergencies, such as COVID-19, to ensure safe care and facilitate preparedness for future public health crises.

AzHHA invites hospitals to plan to continue your partnership and trusted relationship with us in the next phase of this important quality improvement and patient safety work. 

Since 2012, AzHHA has successfully led previous cycles of CMS hospital-based initiatives statewide, namely the HEN (1.0 and 2.0) and HIIN. HQIC will support hospitals as we continue building momentum and capacity in patient safety to address national and local priorities.

By joining, your hospital will have access to:

  • Customized education, technical assistance, coaching, and support including unlimited access to an on-demand Virtual Learning Platform (VLP)
  • Subject matter experts for all topics
  • Educational webinars
  • Small group trainings and individualized coaching
  • Tools to prepare for advanced certification
  • Affinity groups for emerging topics such as COVID-19 and or other areas of interest
  • Tools and resources to enable you to excel in your quality and safety efforts, including discovery tools which quickly and easily help you identify your opportunity priorities
  • Tailored resources to engage, train, and build capacity and competency for staff at all levels
  • Data reporting algorithms and tables
  • Usable/useful data reports demonstrating your performance over time with applicable benchmarks to guide care delivery and business decisions

For more information, including your hospital’s eligibility to participate, contact AzHHA’s Director of Care Improvement, Vicki Buchda by emailing vbuchda@azhha.org or calling 602-445-4311.