A driving force for health equity

HRSA Quality Improvement Awards

Last week, HRSA announced $107 million awarded to health centers across the country. Health centers were awarded based on clinical quality performance, health equity, and use of health information technology to support quality outcomes, all based on 2017 and 2018 UDS reporting. This year, HRSA expanded the award criteria, requiring electronic health record (EHR) reporting. We observed a subsequent 5% reduction in the number of health centers awarded with this more advanced requirement in place.

What are the award categories?

This year, there were eight award categories, as described below. There were a few notable differences from FY2018, raising the bar for eligible health centers:

  • Only health centers who reported out of the EHR on their entire populations across all measures were eligible

  • Health centers needed to demonstrate 15% improvement to receive a Clinical Quality Improver designation in FY2019, compared to 10% in FY2018

  • The National Quality Leader award shifted focus from chronic disease management, preventive care, or perinatal/prenatal outcomes in FY2018 to behavioral health, diabetes health, and heart health outcomes in FY2019

How did OCHIN collaborative members do?

OCHIN collaborative members, which include EHR-hosted and Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN) organizations, received over $12 million in awards this year. OCHIN organizations received awards across all eight categories, with the highest volume of awards across Achieving PCMH, Advancing HIT for Quality, and Clinical Quality Improver categories.

Is there any action my organization should take?

Health centers are awarded based on their UDS reporting. This is a great reminder to start reviewing your 2019 UDS clinical quality, demographic, and financial data, and adjust workflows as needed before the end of the year. The data that is reported for 2019, by February 15th, 2020, will be evaluated for FY2020 awards – so there is still time to make adjustments that could result in more award dollars next year.

If you are an OCHIN Epic member, OCHIN has new UDS reporting tools in Epic Hyperspace, live as of August 23rd, 2019. Visit the wiki for more information, and take a look at the one-pager outlining these changes.

Want to Learn More?

Visit HRSA’s announcement and peruse awards at https://bphc.hrsa.gov/program-opportunities/funding-opportunities/quality or contact Arielle Goranson (goransona@ochin.org), Innovation Advisor, if you have questions.