Arkansas Medicaid awarded more than $3.3 million in performance bonus payments to 15 Arkansas hospitals as part of the annual Inpatient Quality Incentive program.Helena Regional Medical Center is among those recipients. Individual hospitals were recognized at an awards ceremony during the annual Arkansas Medicaid Educational Conference in Little Rock Dec. 6.

Arkansas Medicaid awarded more than $3.3 million in performance bonus payments to 15 Arkansas hospitals as part of the annual Inpatient Quality Incentive program.Helena Regional Medical Center is among those recipients. Individual hospitals were recognized at an awards ceremony during the annual Arkansas Medicaid Educational Conference in Little Rock Dec. 6.

Arkansas Medicaid also announced at the conference that 53 Arkansas private, primary-care practices will receive a combined $12.5 million in performance shared savings awards as part of the Arkansas Payment Improvement Initiative. Pillow Clinic was among those recipients.

“These practices voluntarily transitioned to the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model of providing health care, providing high-quality care while effectively managing the cost of care,” said Cindy Gillespie, director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services. “We commend these practices for participating is one of the country’s most successful PCMH programs.”

By choosing the PCMH model, primary care physicians (PCP) focus on coordinating health care needs by developing a partnership with individual patients. Working with a team of health care providers, the PCP focuses care on prevention, increased access to care, and involving the patient in his or her health care.

Arkansas Medicaid, the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA) and AFMC worked together to develop the IQI program, which has earned national attention for its innovative involvement with the health care community. IQI reflects a growing movement toward rewarding hospitals for commitment to quality and providing evidence-based care to their patients.

  “The outstanding dedication of a growing number of Arkansas hospitals to improve their quality of care not only helps Medicaid patients, but also saves public dollars,” said William E. Golden, MD and Medical Director of Arkansas Medicaid. “Arkansas continues to be a national leader in quality improvement.” Since the IQI program began in 2007, Arkansas Medicaid has awarded nearly $40 million to hospitals based on their successful performance in improving the quality of health care and patient outcomes that align with Arkansas Medicaid’s clinical priorities.

Nationally standardized quality measures are selected by the IQI advisory committee, which is comprised of staff from hospitals, Arkansas Medicaid, AFMC and the AHA. Hospitals that volunteer to participate in IQI are required to collect and submit data on quality measures; data is independently verified. Hospitals must meet specific quality goals for at least 80 percent of eligible measures in order to receive bonus payments, which are adjusted annually to continually improve quality.

During 2017, this pay-for-performance program focused on quality measures that resulted in the following:

Elective deliveries of babies before 39 weeks’ gestation have declined among Medicaid beneficiaries more than 97 percent since the baseline data collections in the fall of 2009.

Exclusive breast milk feeding at hospital discharge has increased 31 percent since the initial baseline measurement in 2011; Medicaid beneficiaries now have a rate of 33.35 percent.

Low-risk Caesarian sections among first-time mothers have declined 21 percent statewide with a current Medicaid beneficiary rate of 22.36 percent. This rate is below the national Healthy People 2020 benchmark for a second year.

Screening hospital in-patients for tobacco use now occurs about 99 percent of the time. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of premature disease and death in the United States.

Patients identified as tobacco product users are offered or provided practical counseling to quit and FDA-approved cessation medications.