News: Oregon Health Authority

The Oregon Health Authority Authority reports that  counties within the state, tribes, and community partners are using a 2019 legislative investment of $5.6 million for 2019-2021 to continue modernizing the state’s public health system. The goal is to expand interventions to prevent and respond to emerging disease threats.

Lillian Shirley, Public Health Director at OHA reports, “A modern public health system provides core public health functions and maintains the flexibility needed to focus on new health challenges, such as dealing with emerging infectious diseases. Funding for about $10.3 million is being distributed to local public health authorities and to county public health departments to address local priorities for controlling communicable diseases.”

About $1.2 million will go to seven federally recognized tribes, the Urban Indian Health program and the Northwest Portland Indian Health Board. The funds will be used to modernize their services and to strengthen partnerships with local public health authorities.

OHA will use about $4 million to improve data systems so they can quickly identify and respond to acute and communicable disease outbreaks and make sure that population health data is obtained by race and ethnicity through surveys.

OHA is implementing the Clinical Quality Metrics Registry (CQMR) to be used to collect, aggregate, and provide clinical quality metrics data to meet program requirements and achieve efficiencies for reporting data.

Kate Lonborg, Clinical Quality Metrics Registry Program Manager in OHA’s Office of Health IT, during the AcademyHealth Conference co-located with the Health Datapalooza meeting held recently in Washington DC, talked about the state’s progress implementing the CQMR at one of the sessions.

She reports that today, “Oregon has no standard, automated capacity for the collection, storage, or aggregation of clinical quality metrics across the state. Clinical metrics typically are reported to multiple programs through manual medical chart reviews, or by submitting claims and administrative data.”

The CQMR will be able to collect, aggregate, and provide clinical quality metrics data and support quality reporting programs for Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO) Incentive Measures Program, and for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

CQMR will improve data transparency and availability, decease the administrative burden of data collection and reporting, streamline reporting requirements, and support Oregon’s Medicaid providers in meeting federal requirements for Meaningful Use incentive payments.

Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCOM) are in place to use data from EHRs and other healthIT systems to assess care that patients have received from EHRs as opposed to claims or survey data. With the increasing adoption of EHRs, it makes it possible to measure outcomes.

OHA has deve a roadmap for the future for the CQMR and sees the registry moving toward the patient-level by increasing the frequency of reporting. The plan is to move toward quarterly and monthly reporting, expand to support more programs, and develop pilots that will combine clinical and claims data.

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