Saline Memorial Hospital Receives Award from Inpatient Quality Incentive Program


Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton received a performance bonus payment from Arkansas Medicaid and Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC) as part of the annual Inpatient Quality Incentive (IQI) program. The award – based on Saline Memorial’s successful performance in improving the quality of health care and patient outcomes that align with Arkansas Medicaid’s clinical priorities – was presented during the annual Arkansas Medicaid Educational Conference on Dec. 6 at Embassy Suites in Little Rock.

“Saline Memorial is committed to improving the health of our community, and we are pleased that our goals and results align with those of Arkansas Medicaid and AFMC,” said Sherry Jensen, director of Quality and Risk Management at Saline Memorial.

Nationally standardized quality measures are selected by the IQI advisory committee, which is comprised of staff from hospitals, Arkansas Medicaid, AFMC and the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA). Hospitals participating in IQI are required to collect and submit data on quality measures; data is independently verified. Hospitals must meet specific quality goals for at least 80 percent of eligible measures to receive bonus payments, which are adjusted annually to continually improve quality.

“The outstanding dedication of a growing number of Arkansas hospitals to improve their quality of care not only helps Medicaid patients, but also saves public dollars,” said Dr. William E. Golden, medical director of Arkansas Medicaid. “Arkansas continues to be a national leader in quality improvement.”

Throughout this year, the pay-for-performance program focused on quality measures that resulted in the following:

  • Elective deliveries of babies before 39 weeks’ gestation have declined among Medicaid beneficiaries more than 97 percent since the baseline data collections in the fall of 2009. Jensen reported that Saline Memorial had only one early elective delivery during this pay-for-performance reporting time.
  • Exclusive breast milk feeding at hospital discharge has increased 31 percent since the initial baseline measurement in 2011; Medicaid beneficiaries now have a rate of 33.35 percent. Said Jensen, “Our exclusive breastfeeding rate for the reporting period was 58 percent, the highest we have ever experienced. This is due to the education that is started in the OB clinics and carried forward through to the post-partum unit. Everyone plays a part in the success of the mother and baby experiencing this special bond that is both emotionally and physically rewarding for the child and mother.”
  • Low-risk Caesarian sections among first-time mothers have declined 21 percent statewide with a current Medicaid beneficiary rate of 22.36 percent. This rate is below the national Healthy People 2020 benchmark for a third year. “Our rate continues to be below the statewide rate – at 20 percent – during that reporting period,” said Jensen.
  • Screening hospital in-patients for tobacco use now occurs about 99 percent of the time. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of premature disease and death in the United States. “We have added this tobacco screening to our admission assessment, so unless a patient gets through without an assessment being completed, we should be screening everyone,” said Jensen.
  • Patients identified as tobacco product users are offered or provided practical counseling to quit and FDA-approved cessation medications. Jensen said that Saline Memorial provides counseling and medications to all users unless they refuse treatment.

A total of more than $3.3 million in performance bonus payments were made to 15 Arkansas hospitals for the 2017 IQI program, based on their successful performance in improving the quality of health care and patient outcomes that align with Arkansas Medicaid’s clinical priorities. Arkansas Medicaid has awarded more than $43 million during the IQI program’s 11-year history.

Arkansas Medicaid, AHA and AFMC worked together to develop the IQI, which has earned national attention for its innovative involvement with the health care community. IQI reflects a growing movement toward rewarding hospitals for commitment to quality and providing evidence-based care to their patients.

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