February 2016
brought to you by the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign
February is American Heart Month: National Wear Red Day, February 5

The month of February will have you seeing red, the signature color of American Heart Month. Health-related organizations across the country are putting a special emphasis on cardiovascular health to raise awareness during this annual month-long observance. 

HHQI would love to see your #GoRedWearRed photos tomorrow, February 5. Please share photos of yourself or your team wearing red on the HHQI's Facebook page. You can also browse our Cardiovascular Health board on Pinterest for great information.

HHQI offers a variety of free resources related to cardiovascular health improvement. Check out our Best Practice Intervention Packages (BPIPs) and our Cardiovascular Learning & Action Network (CardioLAN) webinars
In This Issue


Congratulations to the new HHQI Agency of the Month

This month, HHQI recognizes Health Related Home Care (HRHC) in Abbeville, South Carolina for their dedication to improving home health care quality. 

Home health agencies that are active in the HHQI National Campaign and closest to the national, risk-adjusted ACH 20th percentile and/or the national, risk-adjusted Oral Medication Improvement 80th percentile (or higher) are eligible for random selection as HHQI Agency of the Month. 

Be in the spotlight.
 Nominate your agency today, and if you are selected, your organization will be prominently featured here in HHQI Inside Edition - which reaches more than 16,000 subscribers - and on the HHQI website. Your achievement will also be shared via HHQI's social media channels.


New & Updated Patient Self-Management Resources

On February 1, HHQI added a Patient Self-Management course to its Disease Management catalog in HHQI University. This course focuses primarily on key strategies for patient self-management and self-management support and includes 2 hours of nursing continuing education credit approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation through the Alabama State Nurses Association.

Course materials include HHQI's Focused Patient Self-Management Best Practice Intervention Package (BPIP) which was also updated on February 1, 2016.
January 2016 UP Webinar Recording Now Available
Hospital Discharge & Rural Transitions Planning

On January 21, HHQI's Underserved Populations (UP) Network hosted a free webinar that examined the challenges of hospital discharge and care transition planning in rural areas. Guest speakers from the International Heart Institute of Montana, the University of Montana's Rural Institute, and St. Patrick Hospital in Montana discussed how an enhanced discharge and rural transitions model incorporates the patient's perspective and builds on community strengths to support a patient's transition back home and back into the natural systems of support.

If you were unable to attend the live event or if you simply want to review the information again, the presentation materials and a recording of the webinar are now available on the HHQI website on the UP Event Archives page.



Save the Dates: New "Third Thursdays" Event Schedule
Home health professionals are busy. Now, there's an understatement. In order to make the most of your limited time, HHQI's three primary online Networking events (LiveChat, Cardiovascular Learning & Action Network (CardioLAN) webinars, and Underserved Populations (UP) webinars) will each be held quarterly. 

Events will rotate to always occur from 2-3pm (ET) on the third Thursday of the month.


Click on the Networking Event type above for specific dates and available registration or reminder links. You can also browse our online event calendar.
Dallas, Texas | February 16, 2016 | 1-5pm CT
Free, Hands-On Data Workshop with Nursing CEs

As you may know, HHQI uses OASIS data to generate monthly custom data reports on high-priority topics such as Acute Care Hospitalizations (ACH) for all CMS-reporting home health agencies. During this free, interactive workshop hosted by the Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice (TAHCH), HHQI RN Project Coordinators will provide personalized hands-on guidance on data interpretation and the next steps toward developing and sustaining a strong Quality Assurance & Performance Improvement (QAPI) plan.

This workshop is free and open to all home care providers. You are encouraged to bring your agency's custom ACH Data Report generated by HHQI. To access your report, register or login to the secure HHQI Data Access SystemSample reports will be provided for those who do not bring their agency's custom reports.

Register now for this free workshop that is the pre-conference to TAHCH's Winter Conference 2016 or visit the HHQI website for more information or to download the event flyer.
Online | February 18, 2016 | 2-3pm ET
Network with Your Peers during HHQI's LiveChat

Networking regularly with other home health professionals can fast-track your quality improvement efforts. No matter what challenge your agency is facing, there's a good chance that another agency can offer some valuable first-hand insight. HHQI's quarterly LiveChats are an excellent opportunity to connect and learn what worked -- and what didn't work -- for other agencies when they were in a similar situation.

The next opportunity to participate in HHQI LiveChat will be on February 18 at 2pm ET. 
This networking event is similar to an online chat room. There is no audio. You'll be able to type in real-time to ask questions and share your knowledge. It's a fun, casual way to learn from each other's experiences.

Visit the
HHQI website to add the event to your calendar or to set an email reminder.
Online | February 29, 2016 | 1-2pm ET
One Giant Leap for Preventive Cardiovascular Care

Hypertension is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. and worldwide that is both preventable and treatable. The clinical management of hypertension depends on accurate blood pressure (BP) measurement, appropriate recognition of BP phenotypes, sound therapeutic decision-making, and patient activation. 

As American Heart Month 2016 wraps up on Leap Day, February 29, please join HHQI for a free, interactive webinar featuring renowned hypertension specialist John Flack, MD, MPH. Dr. Flack will discuss the key aspects of hypertension treatment mentioned above, myths about the disease, and therapeutic strategies to control blood pressure.

Dr. John M. Flack
Dr. Flack is a professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He has been named a "Top Doctor" from the Who's Who Global Directory, was named one of Detroit's "Super Doctors" and was Academic Physician of the Year from Oklahoma University School of Medicine. In 2009 the Detroit News named him Michiganian of the Year.

Space is limited, so register now for this live webinar. For more details or to download the event flyer, please visit the HHQI website
CardioLAN Webinar | March 17, 2016 | 2-4pm ET
Exercise Prescription for Heart Failure Patients
HHQI is excited to present this free webinar featuring national physical therapy experts Dee Kornetti, PT, MA and Cindy Krafft, PT, MS from Kornetti & Krafft Health Care Solutions. During this special 2-hour Cardiovascular Learning & Action Network (CardioLAN) event, attendees will receive detailed interdisciplinary information and resources to facilitate accurate exercise prescription and dosing in the home health setting for the patient with heart failure. A clinical decision-making guide will assist in the determination of course of care - restorative or maintenance - for the home care patient with cardiomyopathy. Registration is now open.

This free webinar is appropriate for Clinical Supervisors, Nurses, Physical and Occupational Therapists and assistants, and Speech-Language Pathologists and has been submitted to Alabama State Nurses Association for approval to award contact hours. Alabama State Nurses Association is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Additionally, HHQI has submitted for physical therapy continuing competence units (CCUs) from the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy through ProCert (check for list of accepted states).

By-The-Numbers: QIN-QIOs Improving Cardiac Health, Preventing Stroke and Reducing Cardiac Disparities

In alignment with the Department of Health & Human Services' Million HeartsŪ goal to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations are focusing on improving the ABCS (Aspirin therapy when appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking screening and cessation) to reduce cardiac risk among Medicare populations that experience disparities in cardiac care. 

As part of this national effort, 2,049 home health agencies are participating in QIO Program efforts focused on preventing heart attacks and strokes, and decreasing the number of Americans who die unnecessarily as a result of untreated hypertension.

Click here to learn more about the success of the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) National Campaign.


Home Health Patient Care Experience Star Ratings Debut

On January 28, 2016 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) added Home Health Care Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HHCAHPS) Survey star ratings to the Home Health Compare website. The HHCAHPS Survey star ratings report patients' experiences of care ranging from one star to five stars using data from patients (or the family or friends of patients) that have been treated by the agency. There are more than 11,000 agencies with data on Home Health Compare, and more than 6,000 of them now have patient care experience star ratings.

Prior to this public reporting, HHAs were given preview reports to review their HHCAHPS data and their HHCAHPS star ratings. These are posted on the HHCAHPS website and the agencies can access their own data by using their user IDs and passwords. Key upcoming dates related to Home Health Compare & Star Rating Reports are provided in the table below.

APR 2016
JUL 2016
OCT 2016
Preview reports available in CASPER1/7/16
(or before)
(or before)
Quality of Patient Care Star Rating suppression request deadline1/25/164/25/167/18/16
Deadline for submitting missing or corrected data2/19/165/20/168/19/16
Home Health Compare updated

CMS Releases OASIS-C2 Version Data Set

The OASIS-C2 is scheduled for implementation on January 1, 2017 in order to comply with requirements for standardized, cross-setting measures for post-acute care under the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014. Changes include:
  • Three new standardized items (M1028, M1060, GG0170c), along with modification to and renumbering of select medication and integumentary items to standardize with other post-acute settings of care (M1311, M1313, M2001, M2003, and M2005)
  • The look-back period and item number changed in five items (M1500, M1510, M2015, M2300 and M2400)
  • Formatting changes throughout the document to convert multiple check boxes to a single box for data entry, where responses are mutually-exclusive, and the numbering for pressure ulcer staging changed from Roman to Arabic numerals.
Click here for more information from CMS.


AMA Improving Health Outcomes Blood Pressure Program

The American Medical Association (AMA) and Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) have developed a quality improvement program focused on patients with hypertension. The Improving Health Outcomes: Blood Pressure (IHO: BP) program comprises three evidence-based checklists with accompanying tools to facilitate implementation, including a series of monthly podcasts. Participating in this program can help ambulatory practices effectively engage care teams and patients in efforts to improve blood pressure control.

If you are interested in further information, please see the attached overview. Contact information for the AMA program is included in the overview, so you can reach out directly.
CMS Releases Guide to Preventing Readmissions among Racially, Ethnically Diverse Medicare Beneficiaries

On January 26, the CMS Office of Minority Health released a new Guide to Preventing Readmissions among Racially and Ethnically Diverse Medicare Beneficiaries, as part of the CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare. The guide is designed to assist hospital leaders and stakeholders focused on quality, safety, and care redesign in identifying root causes and solutions for preventing avoidable readmissions among racially and ethnically diverse Medicare beneficiaries.
Racial and ethnic minority populations are more likely than their white counterparts to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge for certain chronic conditions, such as heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia, among others. Social, cultural, and linguistic barriers contribute to these higher readmission rates. The Guide provides:
  • New, action-oriented guidance for addressing avoidable readmissions in this population by providing an overview of the issues related to readmissions for diverse Medicare beneficiaries
  • A set of seven key recommendations that hospital leaders can take to prevent avoidable readmissions in this population
  • Concrete examples of initiatives and strategies that may be applied to reduce readmissions in diverse populations
 For more information, see the CMS press release issued January 26, 2016.
PEPPERs Available for Home Health Agencies & Others

Have you accessed your Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report (PEPPER)? PEPPERs are available for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Home Health Agencies (HHAs), hospices, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Long-Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs), Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities (IPFs), Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs), and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs). CMS contracts with TMF to produce and distribute these comparative billing reports that summarize Medicare claims data to help providers identify and prevent improper Medicare payments.
HHAs can access their PEPPER electronically through the PEPPER Resources Portal.
For more information and to access resources, including the user's guide, recorded training sessions, information about QualityNet accounts, frequently asked questions, and examples of how other hospitals are using PEPPER, visit PEPPERresources.org. If you have questions or need help obtaining your report, visit the Help Desk. You are also encouraged to send your feedback or suggestions to the PEPPER team at TMF Health Quality Institute.
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-020216