Federal Flex Updates: September 2017

September 2017

The end of September means we are halfway through the Performance Improvement and Measurement System (PIMS) reporting period. I hope you've all had a chance to log into the Electronic Handbook (EHB) and access PIMS to review your critical access hospital (CAH) list and make sure all of the hospital names and Medicare numbers are correct. If you are using the PIMS Data Collection Tool to organize your PIMS data in preparation for filling out that report then please let Caleb Siem and me know how it is working.

An important question was raised during our PIMS reporting instructions webinar on August 30, 2017, "How can we report CAHs which are working hard to sustain really high quality scores? They can't change their scores to be higher because they are already at the top." I heard feedback from many Flex Coordinators that you think this is important and we need to include it in PIMS. To investigate this issue I requested comments on sustained high performance in a discussion on the Flex Forum and followed up with a call with Flex Coordinators who engaged in the discussion and were available on short notice.

Through that discussion, we settled on a definition of sustained high performance for PIMS and worked out a way to report it using a combination of the Improvement column and the comment box at the bottom of the Quality Improvement page. If you are including any CAHs with sustained high performance in your PIMS report please read the FY 2016 PIMS Reporting Instructions, version 2.1, updated on September 15. Pay particular attention to the new section that begins on page 7. If you have additional questions about the concept of sustained high performance or the way we defined it for PIMS reporting, please let me know or post your question in the Flex Forum.

September also means it's time for the NRHA RHC and CAH conference. I will be in Kansas City for the CAH meeting and moderating a presentation with the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) about some of the best resources we've developed that are freely available to rural hospitals and communities. Other Flex folks are presenting too: Crystal Barter (Michigan) and Tammy Norville (North Carolina), John Gale (University of Southern Maine), John Barnas (Michigan) and Christy Edwards (Federal Office of Rural Health Policy). Find me and say hi if you are at the meeting!

If you follow the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSApress releases you know that a number of substance abuse treatment and opioid response grants were announced on September 14. Congratulations to the new awardees!

Sarah Young

Flex Program Coordinator

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,009,121 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.