Commonwealth Fund highlights the State Quality Improvement Institute

In a recent newsletter the Commonwealth Fund highlights the State Quality Improvement Institute (SQII), launched in April 2008, is intended to help states plan and implement concrete efforts to improve health system performance and to share best practices among states. It is sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund and led by AcademyHealth. SQII leaders are hoping to address the wide variability in quality and value across the United States, evidenced in the Fund's State Scorecard on Health System Performance.

"The release of the Commonwealth Fund’s State Scorecard spurred a great deal of discussion about what states could do to improve their rankings," says Anne Gauthier, assistant vice president at The Commonwealth Fund. "We heard significant interest in learning about innovative approaches other states were taking that could help improve their health system performance."

Nine states were selected to participate in the Institute through a competitive process: Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Each will focus on improving performance on at least two quality indicators from the State Scorecard. The efforts are led by SQII teams of state officials and other stakeholders, with leaders designated by the governors. Team members include senior officials of the state's health/human service agency, Medicaid agency, quality councils, governor's office, state employee health agency, hospital association, major health plans, and others.

The Institute aims to "go beyond narrowly targeted quality improvement projects to really engage in delivery system redesign," according to Enrique Martinez-Vidal, SQII project director and vice president of AcademyHealth. Opening sessions took place in Chicago in late June, where experts in quality improvement gave presentations about prior and current state initiatives and offered advice and guidance. The complete article can be found here , and the State Scorecard here .

S. Silow-Carroll and G. Moody, States in Action: A Bimonthly Look at Innovations in Health Policy, The Commonwealth Fund, August/September 2008, Vol. 15.

(SOURCE: The Commonwealth Fund alert, http://commonwealthfund.org , August 25, 2008)