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What’s in a number?

Dramatic value-based purchasing score improvement showcases our quality of care

What’s in a number?

Our value-based purchasing (VBP) scores improved dramatically from 18 percent in 2014 to 81 percent in fiscal year 2016. 

“Value-based purchasing is a strategy to measure, report and reward excellence in healthcare delivery,” explained Michelle Strider, RN, chief quality officer, PSO of quality resources. “Value-based purchasing aims to drive clinical quality improvement in areas such as access, price, quality and efficiency.”

Strider emphasized that improvement in this area reflects our ever-increasing quality of care, which is achieved by providing the right care to the right patient at the right place.

“Every team member in our organization has played a factor in our VBP score and these scores do affect us financially,” Strider said. “But beyond the financial implications, our VBP score demonstrates the quality of care we’re providing. It’s about reflecting the quality of care we’re providing our patients.”

VBP reflects quality of care

In fiscal year 2017 (which includes patient discharges from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017), the value-based purchasing program includes a total of 21 measures across four different domains: clinical care (process and outcomes), patient experience of care (HCAHPS), efficiency and safety.

“CMS continues to raise the bar on quality and perception of care, making it critical that Culpeper Medical Center continues to provide the highest level of care at the lowest possible cost to our customers,” Strider said. 

Strider emphasized that all of this is important to know and keep in mind because it’s such a determining factor in healthcare today. “I think sometimes we can be a little cynical of CMS’s agenda with VBP since it’s a huge financial driver from a penalty perspective, but the items included in VBP really do lead to better outcomes for patients,” Strider said.

“It’s important for people to know that we care about patient safety and quality and there are organizations outside of ours that help monitor that. We’re not just doing our own thing and making up our own evidence-based practice – we’re held to standards by other agencies.”

Teamwork and where to go from here

Strider credited the dramatic score improvement to an increased focus on patient safety. “We’ve made changes in our organization, such as improving teamwork and communications, that have had the direct result of positively impacting our VBP,” she said. “VBP is not our driver or our motivation, but it’s evidence that we’ve changed our culture to reflect our commitment to quality and safety, and outside agencies recognize those changes and reward us for them.”

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for continued improvement, Strider said.

“We’re a small organization so part of our struggle is that we focus sometimes on how the numbers game affects us,” she said. “If we have one adverse outcome or one event in an area where we only have a few total in, it affects us pretty strongly. Our commitment is to provide safe care to every patient; that has been, and will continue to be, our motivating factor.”

She added that improving our HCAHPS scores also is on the agenda. “We’ve made significant advances in providing safe, quality care to our patients,” she said. “Now we need to focus on sharing those efforts with our patients and on ensuring our customer service focus is as strong as our focus on patient safety.”

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