Top Flex Activities
CAH Quality Improvement
The Alaska Flex Program partners with the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA) and Mountain Pacific Quality Health (MPQH) to support quality improvement for the 13 critical access hospitals (CAHs) in Alaska. The primary goal is to ensure all CAHs are reporting and receiving the support and feedback they need to ensure high-quality patient care.
ASHNHA and MPQH provide technical assistance to CAHs to improve the consistency of Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) participation and facilitate reporting. MPQH provides technical assistance with data abstracting and reporting systems. ASHNHA coordinates and facilitates face-to-face meetings, site visits, monthly webinars, teleconferences, newsletters, and mentorship programs to promote peer networking and best practices related to quality improvement measures. The Alaska Flex Program has recently partnered with Telligen QI Connect to improve data collection and analysis and to enhance educational offerings available to CAHs.
CAH Operational and Financial Improvement
To support Financial and Operational Improvement, the Alaska Flex Program created financial and operational indicator reports for all CAHs. These “rural snapshots” are available for hospitals to used for presentations to policymakers, stakeholders, and community members. An Alaska specific annual salary survey was completed and shared with CAHs so that they can position themselves for success in recruitment and retention. Resources and educational offerings have been made available to CAHs so that they are able to take full advantage of changes to telehealth policies during the COVID pandemic. CAHMPAS data is shared with individual CAHs and used to retrospectively monitor financial and operational improvement. Additionally, ASHNHA facilitates a monthly meeting with CAH Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) to prioritize and address financial improvement activities that lead to financial system improvements.
Rural Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Improvement
The Alaska Flex Program is currently coordinating a statewide EMS Assessment with SafeTech Solutions which will be completed by Fall 2021. The Alaska Flex Program implemented a pilot tele-stroke project with the Nikiski Fire Service Area in the Kenai Peninsula Borough in 2020. The goal of the program is to improve EMS responders’ ability to assess stroke patients and transport to the appropriate level of care for better patient outcomes. The tele-stroke program is a model for providing high-quality stroke care in rural areas through accurate EMS assessment with a vascular neurologist via tele-assessment for transfer of patients directly for thrombectomy versus other treatment of acute ischemic stroke. The project will improve coordination and integration with hospitals and regional systems of care to minimize brain injury and maximize patient recovery.
Innovative Model Development
The Alaska Flex Program is continuing to support integration and innovative care by utilizing collaborative networks and communication infrastructure to educate hospital leaders on the changing health care environment and payment models. The innovative approach includes continuing to support hospitals in promoting community dialogue to solicit input in these critical transitions. The Alaska Flex Program is also actively participating in The Alaska Healthcare Transformation Project, which is leading a multi-stakeholder effort involving patients, providers, private payers, Medicaid, and other key entities in researching and evaluating options to transition to value-based care that will work in Alaska.
Please provide information about network activities in your state to support Flex Program activities.
The hospitals in Alaska are involved in four informal networks:
Quality improvement (QI) involving the Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs)
Operational improvement involving the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)
Patient Safety Committee
Financial improvement involving the CFOs. They support a monthly CFO Collaborative to identify common financial and operational issues and promote sharing best practices on topics such as revenue cycle, Medicaid reimbursement, swing beds, audits, etc.
The networks have monthly teleconferences and two in-person meetings per year where they share challenges and discuss best practices.
Please provide information about cross-state collaborations you may be working on related to the Flex Program.
The Alaska Flex Program is working with Washington State to determine the number of Alaskan residents that are seeking specialty services in Washington rather than staying within Alaska. Often, the travel to Washington may be faster than the travel to Anchorage for specialized treatment. This will help Alaska understand the number of residents seeking services outside of the state as well as what conditions are being treated.
Do you have any hospitals interested in converting to CAH status?