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Two UMTRC States Recognized by HRSA

MI CAHs Ranked as Top Performers Nationally

Published Friday, August 21, 2020

Michigan Center for Rural HealthThe Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is recognizing ten states for outstanding quality performance of their Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in achieving the highest reporting rates and levels of performance over the past year.

For the fourth year in a row Michigan CAHs have made the top 10 list, moving to the number five position for this reporting year. Click here for the official HRSA language. The 10 top-performing states built on their previous successes by investing Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) funds into quality improvement projects and developing technical assistance resources that improve high-quality care in their communities. States also work collaboratively with every CAH and their respective partners to share best practices and utilize data to drive quality improvement in their hospitals. Michigan has been in the top 10 since inception of the recognition.

"Michigan CAHs are leaders in quality development and improvement efforts. This recognition by HRSA showcases the intense dedication that MI CAH quality and patient safety teams have in providing excellent healthcare to their rural communities," said Crystal Barter, Flex Coordinator for the State of Michigan. The Michigan Center for Rural Health (State of Michigan Flex Program Administrator) is honored to work with each and every CAH in Michigan and couldn't be prouder of each CAH for this recognition."

John Barnas, Executive Director of the Michigan Center for Rural Health noted that "Michigan CAHs have been voluntarily participating in quality improvement reporting through the vision and leadership of the Michigan Critical Access Hospital Quality Network (MICAH QN) for over ten years. This leadership has been the catalyst for improvement on rural relevant quality measures, which has translated into higher standards of care for MI rural residents." 

"Congratulations to all of the MICAH QN members for your commitment and vigilance to improving the care provided in the rural Michigan communities with a patient focus. Being ranked as a top performer nationally for quality and reporting is remarkable. The MICAH QN is vital in networking and supporting each other to share best practices and continue to be a national leader in healthcare" says Mariah Hesse, MICAH QN President and Interim Chief Nursing Officer at Sparrow Clinton Hospital. The MI Flex Program success is directly correlated with the leadership within the MICAH QN. For more information on the MICAH QN, click here

In 2011, FORHP, located within HRSA, created a program to promote high quality of care at rural hospitals with 25 beds or fewer. Low-volume hospitals participating in the Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) voluntarily report on a set of quality measures relevant to the care they provide, share data, and take on quality improvement initiatives.


From: Health Resources & Services Administration

Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project

The Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) focuses on quality improvement efforts in the 45 states that participate in the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program. Through Flex, MBQIP works with more than 1,350 small hospitals certified as rural Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), reporting on quality measures aligned with those collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Quality measures quantify health care processes, outcomes, patient perceptions, and organizational structure and systems to guide decisions about improvements to health care services.

MBQIP provides the opportunity for rural hospitals to evaluate their quality data and compare outcomes with that of hospitals with similar characteristics (such as small bed size, limited resources, and health services). MBQIP quality improvement efforts focus on strategies for hospitals serving smaller patient populations.

What is the purpose of MBQIP?

MBQIP’s primary goal is to improve the quality of care patients receive in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). MBQIP provides incentives for these hospitals to voluntarily collect and report quality measure data in order to drive quality improvement efforts. 

The project provides an opportunity for individual hospitals to look at their data, measure their outcomes against other hospitals in their state, and form partnerships to design activities that ultimately improve patient outcomes. CAHs report data in four areas:

  • Patient Safety/Inpatient
  • Outpatient Care
  • Patient Engagement
  • Care Transitions

What is the impact?

Rural hospitals are key safety-net providers to individuals living in rural communities. This means that they provide valuable health services to medically underserved communities.

By using strong existing connections and commitment to providing high-quality care in rural communities, states and CAHs can use data to drive quality improvement through MBQIP.

Every year, we recognize 10 top performing states who achieved the highest reporting rates and levels of improvement in CAHs over the past 12 months. In 2020, the top 10 ranked states on quality reporting and performance were the following:

  1. Virginia
  2. South Carolina
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Idaho
  5. Michigan
  6. Georgia
  7. Nebraska
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Illinois
  10. Utah

CAHs interested in participating in MBQIP should contact their State Flex Program HRSA Exit Disclaimer.

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