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Oregon Health & Science University

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Program Area: Support for Quality Improvement

During fiscal year (FY) 2017, the Oregon Office of Rural Health (OORH) continues to prioritize improving Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) reporting and linking reporting to quality improvement programming. This includes:

  • Increasing training and peer learning opportunities
  • Making MBQIP data more meaningful by providing customizable benchmarking reports in Tableau
  • Recognizing top reporters through a formal recognition program that includes conference scholarships and a small grant to implement a quality project at their hospital

Please share a success story about reporting quality data or using quality data to help Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in your state improve patient care.

One success that OORH had this past year was the revision of the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Quality Reporting Guide, created by an experienced CAH Quality Officer in a frontier hospital. In Oregon, turnover in CAH Quality Officers has been high and it has been useful to have a step-by-step resource for new quality staff to be able to immediately access (without having to wait for a training opportunity). It has also been a good opportunity to recognize a top performing Quality Officer.

Program Area: Support for Financial and Operational Improvement

For FY 2017, OORH is using the following to assess CAH financial and operational improvement:

  • CAH financial indicator and service line analysis and reporting from the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems
  • Results from the third Rural and Frontier Health Care Facility Listening Tour, which included over 45 facilities and 25 partners
  • Identification and technical assistance to CAHs with a need for improved community benefit reporting

Program Area: Support for Population Health Management and Emergency Medical Services Integration

In order to provide customized, current analysis and reporting on community and service area health, OORH’s Data/GIS Analyst purchases 12 datasets annually, and acquires without cost more than two dozen others. The resulting OORH Primary Care Database contains the most comprehensive demographic and health status information for all rural areas in Oregon at the zip code level. This data is the source of the six-page Primary Care Service Area profiles, which have the latest zip code and county-level information on demographics, socioeconomics, vital statistics, maternity characteristics, mortality, health risk factors, providers and primary care supply and demand numbers for all rural communities in Oregon. A sample of the current Service Area Profile and instructions for how to request customized profiles is available online. 

OORH produces the Areas of Unmet Health Care Needs (AUHCN) in Rural Oregon Report and the CAH Community Engagement Report annually. Both are available on the OORH website.

Building on work during FY 2016, OORH is working with the Oregon Health Authority's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Trauma Division to:

  • Develop standardized evidence-based protocols for ST-Elevated Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), stroke and cardiac arrest
  • Research possible EMS treatment inequalities for pre-hospital pain medication, practices for trauma patients in rural, frontier and urban settings
  • Support trauma scenario training for remote CAHs

Program Area: Support for Integration of Innovative Health Care Models

During 2017, OORH began providing free assessments to interested CAHs and their provider-based rural health clinics to help identify areas of interest for provider education (via Project ECHO) and telehealth service opportunities.

Please describe how your state Flex Program has enhanced its use of data in the past year.

OORH, in response to a mandate from the Oregon Legislature, developed the AUHCN report in 1998 to measure medical under-service in rural areas. It is published annually. This year, OORH convened a stakeholder group to revise the report to better align with an integrated health care model. The new report now includes nine variables that measure access to primary care physical, mental and oral health care (for more on the variables used, see page 12 of the report).

The report provides a total unmet need score for each primary service care area in Oregon. An area's score can be compared to other service areas as well as to overall scores for the state, all urban, all rural and all frontier areas. Additionally, if a score is low, it identifies which of the nine variables are negatively impacting the service area. The report can be used to quantify how well communities are able to access physical, mental and oral primary health care.

Program Statistics

Type of Organization University
Staffing 3.5 FTEs
Number of CAHs 25
Website URL Organization Website

Flex Program Staff

Scott Ekblad
State Office Director, Oregon
(503) 494-4450

Specialty Areas / Background

  • Rural policy and legislative issues
  • Recruitment

State Office Director since January 2005 

Meredith Guardino
Director of Field Services, Oregon
(503) 494-4450
Stacie Rothwell
Program Manager, Rural Health Outcomes, Oregon
(503) 494-7416

Specialty Areas / Background

Provides subject matter expertise, evidence-based support and technical assistance to rural Oregon hospitals, clinics and community stakeholders on quality improvement and improving health outcomes.

Program Manager since September 2015

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, $1,100,000 (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.