This editorial highlights the progress of public health accreditation efforts as discussed by the articles in this special issue. This issue represents an important step toward establishing a stronger evidence base for the national accreditation program, and the articles within this issue address many of the research agenda topics, including technical assistance, connections with public health categorical programs, readiness, and the impact of accreditation on public health departments of many sizes, types, and structures.
Health: Public Health
This article describes case reports that highlight the journey of accreditation through the lens of 11 health departments at various stages in the process. These case reports call attention to the link between accreditation and quality improvement.
Suggested Citation: Joly, B., & Davis, M. V. (2014). Introduction to case reports: One goal-many journeys. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 20(1), 64-65. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182a958da
First STEPS (Strengthening Together Early Preventive Services) is a learning initiative supported by Maine's CHIPRA quality demonstration grant to support measure-driven practice improvement in pediatric and family practices across the state on improving developmental, autism, and lead screening for children. This report, authored by research staff at the USM Muskie School, evaluates the impact of Phase II of Maine's First STEPS initiative, which was implemented from May to December 2012 and included 12 practices serving more than 20,000 children on MaineCare (Maine's Medicaid system). The authors assess changes in developmental, autism, and lead screening rates and evidence-based office processes in participating practices before and after the initiative, as well as related systems changes. They also summarize lessons learned in implementing changes in practices and challenges in using CHIPRA and IHOC developmental, autism, and lead screening measures at the practice-level to inform quality improvement.
Suggested Citation: Fox K, Gray C, Elbaum-Williamson M. First STEPS Phase II Initiative: Improving Developmental, Autism, and Lead Screening for Children. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service; August, 2013. Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC) Final Evaluation Report.
This evalution report, authored by research staff at the USM Muskie School, assesses the change in immunization rates in participating pediatric and family practices that serve a high volume of children insured by MaineCare (Maine's Medicaid system). The authors also summarize lessons learned in implementing changes in practices and challenges in using the immunization measures at the practice-level to inform quality improvement.
Background: Through the Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC) grant, Maine Quality Counts is leading the First STEPS (Strengthening Together Early Prevention Services) Learning Initiative to support Maine’s primary care practices in improving preventive and screening processes for children and building medical homes. The First STEPS Learning Initiative is being implemented in phases, with the first phase (September 2011 - August 2012) focusing on improving immunizations for children and adolescents. As part of the initiative, IHOC identified specific immunization measures to be improved. First STEPS provides wide-ranging and in-depth quality improvement, coaching, andata monitoring of standard quality measures, and educations support to pediatric and family medicine practices as they continue to enhance health outcomes for children. The goal of Phase I was to improve immunization rates in participating practices by at least 4 percentage points within one year of project initiation by implementing changes in office procedures advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures curriculum.
Suggested Citation: Fox K, Gray C. First STEPS Phase I Initiative: Improving Immunizations for Children and Adolescents. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service; March, 2013. Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC) Final Evaluation Report.
As part of its on-going Health Policy Colloquium series, the Muskie School will provide information and convene leaders to explore in detail how the ACA will affect Mainers, what preparations are in place to transition to the new law and to raise and respond to questions as the law is implemented. This policy brief provides background information and lays out some of those questions of affordability, coverage, and impact on small businesses. We hope to provide an on-going forum for interested parties to work together with the Muskie School to address these and other issues in a timely and accurate way.
Riley, T. (2013, August). The Affordable Care Act: What's next for Maine? (Health Policy Colloquium Brief). Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service
The purpose of the annual Survey of Children Served by MaineCare is to monitor the quality of services delivered by MaineCare, the State's Medicaid and CHIP program. The 2012 survey examines the experiences of families with children. ages 0-17, who are enrolled in MaineCare using a standardized survey instrument (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems--CAHPS--4.0H Child Medicaid Health Plan Survey). MaineCare scores very favorably compared with national benchmarks on CAHPS measures of Getting Needed Care, Getting Care Quickly, and How Well the Child's Doctors Community, with ratings at or above the 75th percentile on all the composites and individual items. Overall ratings of the child's personal doctor, ratings of the child's specialist, and ratings of all the child's health care are also among the highest nationally. Areas for improvement included MaineCare customer service and care coordination. Continued administration of the CAHPS 4.0H Child Medicaid Health Plan Survey is recommended for 2013 and beyond to allow for ongoing monitoring of patient experience with and computation of trend results of the MaineCare program as well as ensuring that the MaineCare program complies with federal CHIPRA measure reporting requirements.
Suggested citation: Anderson, N., Fox, K., Thayer, D., & Croll, Z. (2013, January). Children served by MaineCare, 2012: Survey findings. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service.
This report, authored by USM Muskie School research staff, presents the results of the 16 CHIPRA Core Measures that were collected using MaineCare claims or Vital Statistics data and reported in the State of Maine’s FFY 2012 CHIP Annual Report to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Also included in this report are an additional three measures from the Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC) project’s Master List of Pediatric Measures. In addition to presenting results in graphs and narrative, this report also provides measure definitions and background information about each measure topic.
The goal of this document is to present the claims- and vital statistics-based CHIPRA and IHOC measure results in a user-friendly format for IHOC project stakeholders. Measures are grouped by topic. For each topic, a Background section provides a brief description and rationale for collection. (The background discussion for CHIPRA Core Measures is drawn from the Background Report for the Initial, Recommended Core Set of Children’s Healthcare Quality Measures for Voluntary Use by Medicaid and CHIP Programs. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/chipra/corebackgrnd.htm) Next, we provide a general description of how each measure is defined, followed by the results.
Suggested citation: Anderson N, Meagher T. Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC): Summary of Pediatric Quality Measures for Children Enrolled in MaineCare FFY 2009 - FFY 2012. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service; April 2013.