KHC Update - June 2020

KHC Monthly Webinar: Strategies for engaging your PFAs during a pandemic
10 a.m. June 24

KHC virtual meetings provide an opportunity to learn with your peers, as well as stay in the know about resources and opportunities in quality and patient safety. This month's featured topic: “Don’t forget your PFAC: Strategies for engaging patient and family advisors during times of pandemic.”

Tanya Lord, PhD, MPH, director of patient and family engagement for the Foundation for Healthy Communities, will share strategies for engaging patient and family advisors as Kansas health care organizations navigate new ground during times of pandemic, including communications, policies, and implementation of such new technologies as telehealth.

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the role of patient and family advisors (PFAs) and committees (PFACs) as partners to health care facilities, and how a facility’s advisors can be ever important during COVID-19.
  • Identify strategies for convening and engaging PFAs amidst a time of social distancing and concerns for safety, including opportunities and challenges for utilizing virtual technology and other innovations.
  • Explore ways that PFAs and PFACs can partner with health care leaders as they navigate changes in policies and delivery of health care, while ensuring clear communications.

Please join us! Register here.

To view previous events, visit the KHC Education Archive.

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Hess Clinic team members.Spotlight on Success
Hess Clinic: Using telemedicine for Chronic Care Management

Hess Clinic is a two-provider family practice clinic in Hays, a community of 20,850 residents in northwestern Kansas. In early February, the clinic began what would prove to be a prescient change in how they deliver health care: They began seeing many patients via telemedicine, nearly two months before Kansas declared its first stay-at-home order due to COVID-19. Read about how Hess Clinic is using telemedicine—particularly with patients managing chronic conditions—and the success they’ve had with coding and receiving full reimbursement:

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The basics on new federal quality initiatives

It is a time of transition in federally funded quality improvement initiatives in Kansas and across the nation. Several major new initiatives are underway or scheduled to be announced soon, and along with them are a new set of acronyms that will become common parlance in our field. Here’s a brief primer on the various initiatives and how they may be related.

NQIIC — Network of Quality Improvement and Innovation Contractors
In 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) selected 59 contractors who are approved to apply for upcoming CMS quality improvement initiatives. CMS describes these NQIIC (pronounced “N-quick”) organizations as “contractors that have the capability to achieve large-scale improvement results using effective and innovative quality improvement strategies that are data-driven, transparent and empower patients, families, and clinicians to make decisions about their health care.” While KHC is not among those 59 so-called “prime” contractors, we currently work closely with several prime contractors as the subcontractor serving Kansas providers—and of course, KHC is receptive to new partnerships that hold promise to benefit patients in our state.

• HQIN ­— Health Quality Innovation Network
HQIN (pronounced “H-quinn”) is the first initiative under the new NQIIC framework, more specifically as the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) serving our state. For decades the QIO in Kansas was the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC). Last year, CMS awarded the 5-year QIO contract in Kansas to HQIN. Subsequently, HQIN selected KHC to serve as its Kansas partner working with hospitals, physicians, allied health providers, and community partners. (HQIN also selected KFMC to work with nursing homes.) More information about HQIN is in this update below.

• CQIC — Clinician Quality Improvement Contractor
The second initiative is one focused on clinicians, and is referred to as CQIC (pronounced “C-quick”). While this project was announced a year ago, it has been on hold by CMS. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CQIC was reissued in order to leverage its infrastructure, partnerships, and expertise to aid in the response to public health emergencies, such as outbreaks. Find more information here:

• HQIC — Hospital Quality Improvement Contractor
Also among the new initiatives is the HQIC (pronounced “H-quick”), which was announced by CMS this spring and is scheduled to begin in September. The HQIC initiative is the successor to the recently completed Hospital Improvement Innovation Network, or HIIN. HQIC will have a special focus on rural and critical access hospitals, as well as other hospitals serving vulnerable populations. KHC is proactively collaborating with a trusted and proven “prime” contractor to develop an innovative, rural-relevant proposal and to earn the privilege of continuing this work with Kansas hospitals. While we cannot share details during this competitive procurement stage, our hope is that Kansas hospitals continue working together with KHC for this new initiative. KHC is uniquely positioned to help align and support hospitals through both HQIN and HQIC for seamless implementation and results. Contact KHC Program Director Michele Clark to express interest and for more information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (785) 235-0763 x1321.

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The Health Quality Innovation Network (HQIN) — recruiting now

Improving health care quality is a complex task that requires the involvement of many stakeholders. KHC is working in partnership with HQIN, the new CMS Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) for Kansas. Hospitals, provider practices, and community partners that join HQIN will focus on improving patient outcomes at the grassroots level while contributing to national quality goals for reducing opioid deaths, improving care coordination, and managing chronic disease.

As an HQIN member, you will participate in educational events and use improvement materials that are available to providers in all states. All HQIN members receive timely, relevant data analyses to guide their progress. In addition, you will benefit from state-specific networking and contact with locally based HQIN improvement experts who are familiar with your setting of care.

To learn more and/or join the network, visit:

If you have questions or would like more details, contact KHC Program Director Rosanne Rutkowski, MPH, BSN, RN, at (785) 235-0763 or email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Upcoming events

KHC Monthly Webinar — Register here
10 a.m. June 24

HQIN Webinar: Chronic Care Management During COVID-19 — Register here
11:00 a.m. Jun 25

KHERF Quality Corner Call — Register here
Noon July 9
Quality Corner Calls for critical access hospitals are offered by KHERF and KDHE as part of the FLEX program.

KHC Monthly Webinar — save the date
10 a.m. July 22

KHA COVID-19 Clinical Calls
The Kansas Hospital Association hosts regular discussions on COVID-19. All calls are noon to 1:00 p.m. and offer an open Q&A. To receive call-in details, sign up here for KHA COVID-19 email updates.
June 30 – Long-term care
July 14 – Mental health and substance use disorder
July 28 – Pediatrics

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