The MHA and fellow healthcare leaders joined a virtual panel discussion on clinical genomics Sept. 22 hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
The purpose of the webinar was to raise awareness about the clinical utility and lifesaving potential of clinical genome sequencing, as well as highlight coverage models for state Medicaid programs and private payors to help enable equitable access.
According to the National Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health, recent technological advances have made it possible for clinicians to quickly sequence the genomes of critically ill newborns and children to rapidly make a diagnosis. This powerful technology can transform lives by identifying potentially lifesaving and life-changing medical treatment. However, despite the enormous promise of genome sequencing to improve health outcomes, not all patients who might benefit from this technology can access it.
Laura Appel, executive vice president of Government Relations & Public Policy at the MHA, joined the conversation to speak on our state’s model for advancing coverage of genomic sequencing. Other panelists from Michigan healthcare institutions, included:
Brian Keisling, director of bureau of Medicaid policy at the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.
Caleb Bupp, M.D., FACMG, division chief of medical genetics & genomics at Beaumont Health Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
Lynne Carter, M.D., MPH, medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Wendy R. Uhlmann, M.S., LCGC, genetic counselor and clinical professor at the Departments of Internal Medicine (Division of Genetic Medicine) and Human Genetics at the University of Michigan.
During the discussion, the group touched on Project Baby Deer, an initiative that provides rapid whole genome sequencing testing for critically ill infants up to one year of age. The program can enhance clinical management of young patients by initiating life-saving treatments, avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures, shortening hospital stays and helping families with treatment decision-making.
To learn more about clinical genome sequencing, visit the HHS website. Those with questions about Project Baby Deer may contact Laura Appel at the MHA.
If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”— W. Edwards Deming
The last week has been an eventful and successful one for the MHA. The Michigan Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer came to an agreement on the state budget for the new fiscal year, which fully preserves all our hospital and healthcare funding priorities — needed more than ever as our hospitals continue to combat COVID-19 and deal with extraordinary staffing challenges. We were officially honored by Modern Healthcare with the Best Places to Work in Healthcare distinction. And finally, we received great news when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) announced a $5 million commitment through 2024 to support the MHA Keystone Center’s expanded quality and safety improvement programs. I would like to personally thank BCBSM CEO Dan Loepp for his support of this continued partnership, which is the right thing to do for all Michiganders.
Since its inception in 2003, the MHA Keystone Center has provided leadership and facilitation that has directly resulted in improved patient care and quality outcomes — in other words, we have demonstrably saved lives and saved healthcare dollars. No wonder that the MHA Keystone Center has earned both national and international acclaim.
Our first flagship initiative involved central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI). Through that work, Michigan hospitals saw a 22% improvement in CLABSI rates. Initial BCBSM funding also supported work that saw a 31% improvement in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) and a 5.9% improvement in venous thromboembolism.
Following our initial successes, the Great Lakes Partners for Patients (GLPP) Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) was created, allowing us to collaborate with our colleagues in Illinois and Wisconsin. Our HIIN efforts from Sept. 2016 to March 2020 produced a total cost savings of nearly $293 million, saved 3,350 lives and avoided 25,204 incidents of harm among hospitalized patients.
The MHA is now one of eight organizations participating in the Superior Health Quality Alliance, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-contracted organization that seeks to improve the quality of health and healthcare through innovation, effectiveness and efficiency in designing and implementing CMS Network of Quality Improvement and Innovation Contractors initiatives that are person-centered and integrated across the continuum of care and services. This important work with federal contracts is yet another way we can improve quality in the acute care setting.
High reliability work has been a focal point for the MHA for several years, which was initiated with our members in 2015. This work ensures exceptional quality of care is consistently delivered for every patient, every time. In 2018, the MHA Keystone Center launched a Reliability Culture Implementation Guide in partnership with our fellow state hospital associations from Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. This guide provides resources available for front-line staff, executive leaders and board members to help identify areas of opportunity.
Over the past year, CEOs representing all our community hospitals have signed the MHA Pledge to Address Racism and Health Inequities, demonstrating our members’ unified commitment to address disparities, dismantle institutional racism and achieve health equity. Recent examples of tangible steps taken to accomplish those goals include the publishing of the Eliminating Disparities to Advance Health Equity and Improve Quality guide and offering a virtual series to address four diversity, equity and inclusion concepts: equitable conversations, equitable messaging, partnership building and diversity pipeline development. The Health Equity guide is geared to assist organizations in addressing health disparities to achieve equitable care by providing key strategies, recommendations for action, implementation levels, and resources to support progress.
Thanks to funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the MHA Keystone Center recently launched its second Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community free of charge to MHA members. The Action Community builds on existing practices of participating organizations and combines them to reliably implement the evidence-based framework of high-quality care with all older adults in the system. With Michigan’s aging population, this work is exceptionally important and timely.
One way to help instill a safety culture within a healthcare organization is empowering all members of a care team to speak up if they think something may be wrong. Our patient safety organization created the quarterly Speak-up! Award program five years ago to honor healthcare staff who spoke up to prevent harm, which has prevented nearly $12 million in avoidable costs.
We have also done our part to address the tragedy of opioid overdoses, which lead to more deaths in Michigan than automobile accidents. The GLPP HIIN recently created the Midwest Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) program; participating hospitals collectively have seen an 11.32% decrease in opioid administration and a 13.38% increase in ALTO administration. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the opioid epidemic, we are committed to expanding this important work.
The MHA advocacy and policy departments also assisted in the creation of Project Baby Deer, a rapid Whole Genome Sequencing project to improve pediatric intensive care units and outcomes in Michigan. Genetic disorders are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in infants. Early diagnosis of genetic disease has the potential to change clinical management in many meaningful ways, including initiating lifesaving treatments, avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures, shortening hospital stays and empowering families with real-time diagnoses to help with their understanding and decision-making. In addition to improving outcomes, Project Baby Deer also can prevent avoidable healthcare costs.
As you can see, we have a rich history that we can be incredibly proud of. And without question, BCBSM has been an instrumental partner with us on this journey, providing some $16 million in direct funding support to date. This new BCBSM funding will help to ensure that our critical work in safety and quality continues into the future. Specifically, it will allow the MHA Keystone Center to increase hospital participation in the Michigan Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (MI AIM), increasing implementation of pre- and post-partum Obstetric Hemorrhagic Risk Assessment, increasing implementation of Quantitative Blood Loss Assessment, and increasing the percentage of women who receive timely treatment of severe hypertension. It will accelerate our work on the opioid epidemic by maximizing the use of medication-assisted therapy, and it will allow us to expand our efforts to address healthcare workplace injuries — thereby ensuring that hospitals are as safe as possible for our front-line caregivers.
In each example noted above, we have helped to establish a clear process that people can understand, trust and execute.
Lastly, I want to stress that all Michigan hospitals and their team members voluntarily participate in MHA Keystone Center initiatives to advance safety for patients and workers and quality of care. There is no mandate in place to require hospitals to participate in this work, but they each choose to do so because of their missions to care for the sick and vulnerable. The pandemic has shined a bright light on the unselfishness of our healthcare heroes and their participation in these efforts is another terrific example of the lengths they go to improve care for their patients. I want to thank both BCBSM and our member hospitals for believing in this vital work and taking the steps necessary to ensure evidence-based best practices are implemented to the point that they make a difference in patients’ lives. This is mission-driven work that all Michiganders can be proud of
The MHA Keystone Center, through Project Baby Deer, is hosting a call from noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 16 to discuss rapid Whole Genome Sequencing (rWGS).
The first half of the call will be dedicated to an organization’s case review, which will share testing, results and key takeaways. The second half will serve as a “town hall” discussion, sharing program achievements and clinical or economic outcomes. All birthing and children’s hospitals are welcome to participate.Contact the MHA Keystone Center for event information.
Project Baby Deer is an rWGS project to improve pediatric intensive care units and outcomes in Michigan. With genetic disorders being a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in infants, early diagnosis of genetic disease has the potential to change clinical management in many meaningful ways: initiating lifesaving treatments, avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures, shortening hospital stays and empowering families with real-time diagnoses to help with their understanding and decision-making.
Additionally, separate Medicaid payment will be available for rWGS when clinical and authorization criteria are met effective Sept. 1, pending Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approval. Learn more about covered and noncovered rWGS criteria in the Aug. 17 Medical Services Administration bulletin.