Quality Improvement Team Wins Special Funding to Address Sepsis

21 Oct, 2015, 10:00 ET from IPRO

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., Oct. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Medicare quality improvement network has secured special funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to improve early identification and treatment of sepsis, a life-threatening inflammatory response to infections, which kills 250,000 Americans each year.

The Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN) --- led by IPRO, based in Lake Success NY and The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME), based in Columbia SC—will collaborate on a two-year project aimed at improving early identification and management of sepsis among community-based providers (home health staff, nursing home personnel, Emergency Medical Services responders and physician practices) and hospitals, as well as raising public awareness about the signs of sepsis.

"We know that between 15% and 30% of sepsis patients die from these medical emergencies," says IPRO Chief Medical Officer Clare Bradley, MD, MPH. "At the same time, we also know that sepsis is among the most under-recognized and misunderstood conditions among providers and the general public. The AQIN project aims to improve care but also to raise awareness, with the overall goal of reducing inpatient admissions, mortality, hospital length-of-stay and hospital readmissions."   

Nationwide, septicemia accounts for 700,000 Medicare hospital discharges annually, and is the program's single most expensive condition, accounting for nearly 7% of all Medicare payments annually. In New York, septicemia is the number one driver of 30-day readmissions to hospitals (21.3%). Septicemia's in-hospital Medicare mortality (death) rate in New York is 17%, four times the mortality rate from all causes. New York is the first state in the nation to require that every hospital implement state-of- the-art sepsis recognition and treatment protocols. The AQIN project is targeting the Albany and Syracuse regions of the state.

In South Carolina, hospitals are not currently required to have sepsis protocols in place. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has developed nurse-driven protocols to initiate lifesaving interventions in inpatient units and is actively participating in the AQIN project. "We're fortunate to have nationally-recognized experts from MUSC supporting our team with educational sessions, regional face-to-face meetings and quarterly webinars," according to Karen Southard, MHA, RN, State Program Director. The AQIN South Carolina project will focus on the Charleston region, with 372, 913 residents and nearly 62,000 Medicare beneficiaries.   

Other important project collaborators include the California-based national Sepsis Alliance, which has a track record of success in driving awareness and education using social media, print, video, press outreach, and special events-- with a website that receives more than 75,000 visits each month. Another key participant is the Home Care Association of New York State, which is currently testing a screening tool with clinical protocols and a staff education and training module devoted to early sepsis identification and treatment in the home care setting. 

The IPRO-led AQIN is one of 14 Medicare-funded Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) operating across the U.S. As a recognized leader in improving health care quality, AQIN-Member CCME provides innovative services and solutions to create healthier communities. AQIN-Member Delmarva Foundation formerly held two contracts with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as federally-designated QIOs for the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

To learn more about the AQIN Sepsis Special Innovation Project, contact IPRO Senior Director and Project Lead Sara Butterfield, BSN, RN, CPHQ, CCM  at Sara.Butterfield@area-I.hcqis.org or (518) 426-3300, Ext. 104.

Visit the AQIN website at www.atlanticquality.org. To learn more about the QIO program, visit www.qioprogram.org.

This material was prepared by the Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN), the Medicare Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization for New York State, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. 11SOW-AQIN3.TskSIP2-15-01