WCHQ Seeks Representatives for Disparities Team
The WCHQ Disparities Improvement Team held their kick-off meeting on December 13. ThisTeam is responsible for operationalizing plans to improve health disparities associated with the three priority measures selected by the participants of the December 3 Executive Summit on Health Disparities. The priority measures selected are: Diabetes A1c Control, Hypertension Control, and Colorectal Cancer Screening. The Improvement Team will identify and share best practices to decrease disparities gaps, set goals and monitor data related to these priorities, and enable partnerships to reduce disparities.
At the initial meeting, the Team had a robust discussion about the structure, participation and representation of the Disparities Improvement Team. Highlighted in the discussion was the importance of incorporating the perspectives and stories of those who experience disparities, as well as including other stakeholders and subject matter experts as relevant to meeting agendas. Over the next two months, the Improvement Team will establish a Charter and begin crafting organization-specific goals to track and measure as they undertake quality improvement projects.
The Disparities Improvement Team is actively recruiting participants from WCHQ’s membership. For more information or to participate in the Improvement Team, contact Abbey Harburn.
Efforts Continue to Combat Obesity in Wisconsin
The obesity project at WCHQ continues with regular meetings between providers and payers discussing how to communicate the importance to employers and other insurers of covering obesity treatment. More than 32 percent of Wisconsin adults are reportedly obese, and data shows that of the 71 percent of those with obesity who seek doctor’s help, only 55 percent receive a formal diagnosis of obesity. The payers and providers agree that it is important to build a model that will provide information on costs and benefits of providing obesity treatment. Further, the group stressed the importance of providing early treatment to this population.
The Advisory Group is continuing work on obesity measures that will be released in early 2022. Planning is underway for a virtual education event in February that will be open to all WCHQ members. The group is also working on the details for a full-day in-person obesity Summit which will be held October 13 at the Hotel Retlaw in Fond du Lac from 9 AM – 3 PM.
If you are interested in learning more about the obesity project, contact Jen Koberstein.
Adolescent and Child Health
Over the past year, the WCHQ Adolescent and Child Health Improvement Team has balanced education and quality improvement with supporting its members as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt the health care delivery system. The team was able to transition both meeting formats and content to provide support, feedback and best practices as members managed rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines to children and facilitated testing and treatment for their patients. Meetings shifted to include regular COVID-19 huddles, during which members were encouraged to share the issues and successes they saw in their own clinics in addressing the pandemic in the pediatric patient population and their families. Lessons learned regarding vaccine clinics, partnerships with schools and community organizations, and strategies for addressing staff burnout and fatigue were regularly discussed by Improvement Team members from across the state.
As WCHQ prepares for 2022, the Adolescent and Child Health Improvement Team will continue to prioritize education and quality improvement strategies driven by member priorities. The Improvement Team has designed a calendar of meeting topics for 2022 that will allow members to learn from one another and from outside experts. Focus areas for the next year include immunizations, developmental screening, childhood obesity, health equity, and value. The upcoming year will also drive forward measurement priorities in adolescent and child health, with plans for analyzing new metrics related to well-child visits and immunizations. In addition to reviewing potential new metrics, the team will also review stratified data to identify disparities in care in the pediatric population.
To participate in the Adolescent and Child Health Improvement Team, contact Abbey Harburn.
Behavioral Health Shifts to Meet Increased Need During the Pandemic
Shanda Wells, PhD, behavioral health manager for primary care at UW Health, is an expert on general and brief evidence-based interventions for therapy, integrated care, and collaboration within systems. At the December meeting of the Behavioral Health Improvement Team, Dr. Wells presented on the impact of telehealth on warm handoffs and its relationship to integrated care. The group also discussed virtual care as a strategy to improve access and meet the demand for behavioral health services during the pandemic.
If you are interested in joining the Behavioral Health Improvement Team contact Jen Koberstein.
Throughout the second half of 2021, 14 health systems engaged in Chronic Disease workgroup discussions and presentations. Several of the participating systems committed to improvement goals showcasing efforts related to diabetes and hypertension management. The members of the workgroup established SMART goals and they will be checking in on these during future meetings.
High level themes for diabetes management include timely and consistent labs prior to appointments, completion of labs, a feasibility study and referrals to Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES).
Themes for blood pressure management include establishing a self-management blood pressure program, recording self-managed blood pressures in the EHR, accurate diagnosis and management, blood pressure re-checks and implementing team-based care. In addition, the groups will integrate priority populations into their work.
Eleven health systems provided feedback for the creation of a combined Chronic Disease Toolkit. This toolkit will combine and update the current Diabetes & Hypertension Toolkits. Additional feedback will be sought when the first draft is complete early in 2022.
To find out more about the Chronic Disease Learning Collaborative Workgroups, contact Sheryl Pierce.
Work on Oral Health Measures Continues
The WCHQ oral health members continue their work on multiple projects. The members are submitting data to WCHQ on four measures for services provided through June 2021:
· Oral Health Evaluation for Patients with Diabetes
· Caries Risk Assessment in Children
· Ongoing Care of Adults with Periodontitis
· Topical Fluoride Application in High-Risk Children
The members began discussions this month on implementing measures to advance value-based care. The discussions stemmed from a convening of oral health leaders reviewing a paper on the topic.
Members are working with WCHQ measurement staff to determine next steps on this project.
If you are interested in more information, please contact Jen Koberstein.