August 2015
brought to you by the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign

Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the lifespan. Activities focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being vaccinated against infectious diseases. In 2015, the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) is coordinating NIAM activities. Download NPHIC's communications toolkit to help promote the importance of immunizations.


You can also connect with HHQI on social media for valuable immunization information and resources throughout the month of August. #NIAM15 #GetAFluVax


Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn    Find us on Pinterest


Congratulations to the new HHQI Agency of the Month


"Tabitha Home Health Care created an action plan during the past 18 months with an intentional strategy to improve oral medication management. HHQI provided resources and access to best practice information enabling us to succeed. I am very proud of our team's efforts, and we will continue to implement best practices to improve our outcomes and ensure the success of Elders living in our communities."


Charity Ebert MSN, RN


Tabitha Home Health Care 

Would you like the chance to show the nation how committed to quality improvement your home health agency is? Nominate your agency today.


Get Your Free Immunization Data Reports


HHQI uses your agency's OASIS data to generate customized data reports on a variety of high-priority home health topics each moth, including Influenza & Pneumococcal Immunizations. These free reports require no additional work on your behalf and are waiting for you now in the HHQI Data Access System.


The Immunization reports from HHQI include data tables and graphs for total immunizations received, contraindicated, and declined, and also breaks down the data by age, race, and payment source. Click here for a sample Flu Vaccine Report. 


Register or log in now to get your agency's free data reports and see how your rates compare to State and National rates. 

New videos help educate patients and clinicians


HHQI's educational multimedia resource library continues to grow with the release of three new videos. A current total of 10 professionally produced videos are organized into four cardiovascular health improvement topics: smoking effects & cessation; blood pressure control; risk factors; and lifestyle management. Each 5- to 8-minute video provides valuable information in an engaging format and helpful resources that are easy to use.


Videos for Patients

  • Risks & Signs of Heart Attack & Stroke
  • NEW! Diabetes & Your Heart
  • Blood Pressure Medication Management
  • How to Check My Own Blood Pressure
  • Smoking & Your Heart
  • NEW! How to Quit Smoking

Videos for Clinicians

  • Race & Ethnicity Cardiovascular Risk Factors
  • Lifestyle Modifications Part 1: Weight Reduction, DASH Eating Plan, Sodium Reduction
  • Lifestyle Modifications Part 2: Physical Activity, Alcohol Moderation, Smoking Cessation
  • NEW! Smoking Cessation with Your Patients
10+ Free CEs Now Available in HHQI University


HHQI University logo

With the addition of the newest course - It's HHQuitting Time: Help Your Patients Quit Smoking - HHQI University now offers more than 10 of free continuing education credits for nurses. The tools and information provided in this course can help you identify if your patient is ready to try to quit and provide the support and resources they need to be successful.

Click here for a complete course listing (page 2), or register or log in to HHQI University now to start earning free continuing education credits.



Join Us for Our Next LiveChat, August 20


With flu season just around the corner, are you up-to-speed on immunization updates for 2015-16? The August 2015 LiveChat will be a great opportunity to get answers to any questions you may have. 


During HHQI's quarterly LiveChats, the HHQI team and campaign participants from across the country come together online to share experiences, offer insight, and suggest resources 

to help home health agencies overcome challenges they may be facing. When you participate in LiveChat, you will be able to type in real time and interact with others who share your commitment to home health quality improvement.

Click here to set an email reminder for our next LiveChat on August 20 at 2pm ET. You can also submit your questions in advance by emailing them to


NAHC Annual Meeting | October 28-30, 2015
Hope to See You in Nashville!

HHQI will be presenting two education sessions during the 2015 National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., on October 30. Attendees will receive valuable guidance and resources from HHQI RN Project Coordinators Misty Kevech, Cindy Sun, and Crystal Welch.

  • Session 610: How to Understand and Utilize HHQI's Cardiovascular QAPI Plan
  • Session 710: How to Improve Outcomes Related to Influenza & Pneumococcal Immunization (with special guest speaker Mary McGoldrick, MS, RN, CRNI, Infection Preventionist and Consultant for HH, Home Health Systems, Inc., St. Simons Island, GA)
Click here 
for a complete list of education sessions and descriptions.
A Big Thanks to IHHC for Successful Workshop


HHQI would like to thank the Illinois Homecare & Hospice Council (IHHC) for hosting the
Data Diving:  Discovering Buried Treasure in Your HHQI Data Reports workshop last month. The all-day workshop was attended by more than 60 individuals and provided an in-depth look at HHQI's Acute Care Hospitalization (ACH) and Oral Medication data reports, including how to read and analyze the reports. HHQI also provided educational materials and resources to assist agencies with their quality improvement activities related to these topics. Great discussions occurred all day related to quality improvement and data.

The HHQI team at the workshop included RN Project Coordinators Cindy Sun, Misty Kevech, and Crystal Welch, as well as Data Analyst Stacie Deslich. Glenn Steigbigel from Health Resource Solution (HRS) also presented on how quality data is essential to drive organizational success in the healthcare arena. Anna Astalas, Program Specialist at Telligen QIN-QIO, discussed opportunities to work with your state's Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) and Telligen's partnership with HHQI. Participants left the workshop with a much better understanding of their free HHQI data reports and how to use them to drive quality improvement within their organizations.

An Immunization Q&A with Shiree Southerland

Shiree Southerland, PhD, RN, BSN, currently works as a Health Insurance Specialist within the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ), Quality Improvement and Innovation Group (QIIG) at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Her primary responsibility includes serving as a Subject Matter Expert for the adult immunization work being conducted by Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs). In this capacity, Dr. Southerland provides programmatic technical assistance and works collaboratively with the National Coordinating Center (NCC).

Dr. Southerland recently discussed the QIO Program's immunization initiatives in QIO News. Click here to read the interview now.


Accepting comments until September 4, 2015
New initiative promotes value-based home care  

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced a proposal to launch a new model designed to support greater quality of care among Medicare beneficiaries. The model is included in the CY 2016 Home Health Prospective Payment System proposed rule, which updates payments and requirements for home health agencies under the Medicare program. As proposed, the Home Health Value-Based Purchasing model would test whether incentives for better care can improve outcomes in the delivery of home health services.

CMS will solicit comments until September 4, 2015. Click here to read the official press release and access instructions for submitting comments.
Accepting comments until September 8, 2015
CMS begins implementation of key payment legislation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a proposed rule that updates payment policies, payment rates, and quality provisions for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) on or after January 1, 2016. This year, CMS is proposing a number of new policies, including several that are a result of recently enacted legislation. The rule also finalizes changes to several of the quality reporting initiatives that are associated with PFS payments, including the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Physician Value-Based Payment Modifier (Value Modifier), and the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, as well as changes to the Physician Compare website on 

Click here 
to read the official press release and access additional related information.

Applications due September 10, 2015
Million HeartsŪ CVD Risk Reduction Model seeks applicants

The Million HeartsŪ: Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model test is a randomized-controlled trial designed to identify and test scalable models of care delivery that reduce Cardiovascular Risk. CMS will enroll up to 720 practices into the model. Half of the enrolled practices will be randomized to the intervention group, and half to the control group. All practices will be eligible for additional funding for participation.

The Million HeartsŪ: Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction model seeks a diverse range practices, varying in size, patient case mix, and other patient demographic factors. The following practices are eligible to apply to participate in the Million HeartsŪ: Cardiovascular Disease Risk Reduction Model test:

  • General/family practice, internal medicine, geriatric medicine, multi-specialty care, nephrology or cardiovascular care
  • Applicants can be private practices, community health centers and other community-based clinics, hospital-owned physician practices, hospital/physician organizations, or retail clinics

Watch the overview webinar to learn more or click here for application instructions.

Applications due September 18, 2015
FCA now accepting online applications, 2015 Gilbert Awards

Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), with the ongoing support of The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, is pleased to announce that online applications for the 2015 Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards are now open. This will be the eighth year the $20,000 prize has been awarded in each of three categories: Creative Expression, Diverse / Multicultural Communities, and Policy and Advocacy.

Interested organizations must submit applications by Friday, September 18, 2015 to be considered. 
Effective January 1, 2016
CMS issues final rule outlining FY 2016 Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a final rule to update the Medicare hospice payment rates and wage index for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The final rule reflects the ongoing efforts of CMS to support beneficiary access to hospice care. Hospices serving Medicare beneficiaries would see an estimated increase in payments of 1.1 percent ($160 million) for FY 2016. CMS is finalizing two routine home care rates, in a budget-neutral manner, to provide separate payment rates for the first 60 days of care and care beyond 60 days. In addition to the two routine home care rates, CMS is finalizing a service intensity add-on payment that would help to promote and compensate for the provision of skilled visits at end of life. These two new policies will be effective beginning on Jan. 1, 2016.

Click here to read the fact sheet from CMS.

HIS Manual Update video modules available for download

Were you on CMS' June 17 provider call that detailed changes and updates to the Hospice Item Set (HIS) Manual from V1.01 to V1.02? If you missed that important event or need to update colleagues on the changes, CMS has now made available video modules that will walk viewers through those changes.

Click here 
for links to these modules and other HIS resources available via the OASIS Answers website.
Medicare Care Choices Model invitees increased to 140

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced the participants in a new model that empowers beneficiaries, their families, and clinicians by providing them with greater flexibility in deciding between hospice care and curative treatment when faced with life-limiting illness. The Medicare Care Choices Model provides Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for coverage under the Medicare hospice benefit and dually eligible beneficiaries who qualify for the Medicaid hospice benefit the option to elect to receive supportive care services typically provided by hospice, while continuing to receive curative services. 

Click here to read the official press release.


August 20, 2015
1-2pm ET
OnlineThe Joint CommissionEmergency Preparedness Strategies for Home Care Providers
August 27, 2015
2-3pm ET
OnlinePACCR & NASLData Standardization & the IMPACT Act
September 11, 2015
10:30-11:45am CT
OnlineHealth Sciences InstituteBehavioral Intervention Technologies for Depression Roles, Research, Risks & Benefits
October 26-27, 2015
Los Angeles, CANHF, PFCC Partners & HSAG6th Annual Patient and Family Centered Care Conference
November 6, 2015
10:30-11:45am CT
OnlineHealth Sciences Institute
Motivational Interviewing for Medication Adherence: Considerations for Telephonic Delivery
December 4, 2015
10:30-11:45am CT
OnlineHealth Sciences Institute
Engaging Patients and Families In Their Care: What It Will Take
'Take 5 with The Joint Commission' podcasts

The Joint Commission's newest series of podcasts can help you learn more a variety of hot topics in the home care industry. These free, on-demand podcasts give you a brief insight into key topics, such as:

  • Home Care Deemed Status - Tips for a Timely Survey
  • Understanding Transitions of Care
  • Oxygen Safety at Home
Tune in 
at a time that works best for you!

Million HeartsŪ Hypertension 
Control Change Package for Clinicians

One in every three American adults - approximately 70 million-has high blood pressure. CDC Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention has released a new quality improvement action guide to help improve hypertension control, the Hypertension Control Change Package for Clinicians. This guide provides examples of tools that have worked in a variety of clinical settings that may be adopted by or adapted to individual practices or health systems.
Geriatric Home Health Resources from CHAMP

Champ logo 

The Collaboration for Homecare Advances in Management and Practice (CHAMP) Program was the first national initiative to advance geriatric home care excellence. CHAMP's valuable resources and e-presentations are still available online.

This material was prepared by Quality Insights, the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization supporting the Home Health Quality Improvement National Campaign, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. 

Publication number 11SOW-WV-HH-MMD-080715