The Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement (Quality) grant program of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy funds rural primary care providers to improve patient care and health outcomes through the implementation of quality-improvement activities. The ultimate goal of the program is to promote the development of an evidence-based culture and delivery of coordinated care in the primary care setting. The three-year funding opportunity supports quality-improvement programs that focus on patients with the highest health care utilization due to chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Grantees are required to implement an evidence-based quality-improvement model and use health information technology (HIT) to collect and use information on cost and quality.
The Community Health Systems Development team at the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) has long-standing experience in providing technical assistance for direct services grantees of HRSA programs, including working with 29 grantees of the Quality grant program. GHPC uses a dynamic, team-based technical assistance program, capable of providing tailored technical assistance for each community. While based on the grantee’s needs, technical assistance can focus on developing and strengthening partnerships, implementing services, evaluating effectiveness, and planning for sustainability.
The GHPC team has a deep understanding of rural communities. Funded Quality grantees have been working on a range of quality initiatives that include patient navigation, discharge planning processes, chronic disease care management, integration of telehealth services, achievement of meaningful use, care coordination, and the linkage of interoperable electronic health records and registries across multiple clinical sites.
To achieve successful implementation of these quality initiatives, grantees are incorporating different models (e.g., Chronic Care Model, Institute for Healthcare Improvement Model for Improvement, Patient-Centered Medical Home), tools (e.g., risk stratification tools such the Tier Assignment Tool and the Johns Hopkins Adjusted Clinical Groups system), and decision-making and management approaches (e.g., Lean Six Sigma, Plan-Do-Study-Act) into their work.