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Past Projects

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Assisting Caregivers with Dementia Care (ACDC) in California

Healthcare costs have dramatically increased over the past 30 years and have caused stress among patients, families, employers, and governments. Studies have shown that one way to reduce costs is to enhance patient engagement, which is also associated with better patient experience, health, and quality of life. To encourage greater patient and family engagement, CMS tasked HSAG to develop a person-centered project that involves patients and families in decisions regarding dementia care, tailored to fit their preferences, priorities, and empowers them to take action for their healthcare to improve quality of life. A unique aspect of this project was to create a program as a web-based support system for caregivers.

In response, HSAG designed an online hub dedicated to serve caregiver needs on dementia care, culling trusted and proven resources all in one site. Ranging from educational sources to support referral services, the ACDC project strived to meet the knowledge, education, and skill advancement needs of caregivers, using social marketing techniques. One component of the site allowed caregivers to share their insights safely and securely on a protected discussion board. Aiming to build legacy assets beyond this project, HSAG also created video podcasts across a variety of dementia topics, from sundowning to cybercrime prevention. These videos are now available on HSAG’s YouTube channel, and have been shared on stakeholder sites for wider community benefit.

Improving Cardiac Health Disparities in California

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified heart disease and stroke as the first and third leading causes of death, respectively, in the United States. The rates in California are among the highest in the United States for all races and ethnicities but are a particular concern for African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians/Pacific Islanders.

Health Services Advisory Group, California's Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, has—through a special study funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—supported the national Million Hearts initiative to prevent heart attacks and strokes by improving the targeted communities’ ABCS: Aspirin therapy, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol control, and Smoking cessation.

HSAG has collaborated with stakeholders, partners, providers, and patients through:

  • Provider Learning and Action Networks (LANs)—Forums to identify and discuss best practices and change packages to improve cardiac health disparities.
  • Patient Community Meetings—Events focused on improving blood pressure, physical activity, cholesterol, diet, weight, smoking, and blood sugar.
  • Direct Technical Assistance—Technical assistance to monitor the ABCS improvement.

Helping Seniors Avoid Falls Everyday in Arizona

Preventing falls among adults over the age of 65 helps protect their health and ability to live independently, while also reducing the financial and operational strain that fall-related injuries place on the healthcare system. Through a special project funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HSAG, developed Seniors Avoiding Falls Everyday (SAFE) to help meet this challenge and engage seniors in their health.

SAFE focused on providing a diverse population of senior-center members living independently in the Phoenix metropolitan area with web-based tools and resources to help them implement effective fall-prevention strategies in their homes. To accomplish this, HSAG developed an interactive website tailored to fit seniors’ needs and preferences, video podcasts with home-safety tips, an online discussion board, and a photographic room-by-room assessment of participants’ homes. HSAG engaged senior-center members through monthly on-site visits, adult-learning games, print-based outreach materials, and computer-skills education. Over the course of the project, HSAG developed partnerships with senior centers and local fall-safety groups, which provided subject-matter experts, support, feedback, and a foundation for sustainment.

Through the project, HSAG learned that providing web-based tools and resources is an effective way to provide seniors with health information; however, it is important to use a mix of online and offline communication channels, based on user preferences, to ensure equal access to information among diverse populations with wide-ranging computer skills.

Hospital Outpatient Quality Data Reporting Program (HOP QDRP) CMS Special Study (Support Contractor)

HSAG was selected by FMQAI, the Florida Medicare quality improvement organization (QIO), to serve as the HOP QDRP subcontractor. HSAG has been involved in the HOP QDRP since the inception of the program, which began in September 2007. The HOP QDRP was established in response to the Medicare Improvements and Extension Act under Division B of Title I of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act (MIEA-TRHCA) of 2006. The MIEA-TRHCA resulted in changes to the outpatient prospective payment system and required CMS to establish a quality data reporting program for hospitals to submit standardized measures for the assessment of hospital outpatient care. Hospitals that fail to report receive a two percent reduction of their annual payment rate update (APU). The first reporting period began with April 1, 2008 patient encounter dates.