The Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), the District’s Medicaid Agency, has unveiled a partnership with key leadership and health care quality improvement experts from the District of Columbia Department of Health, George Washington University, Chartered Health Plan, Health Right Health Plan, Health Services for Children with Special Needs, Inc., and Unison Health Plan to improve the health of some of the District’s most vulnerable residents. The two, three-year quality improvement initiatives will focus on birth and chronic illness outcomes.
The goals of the programs are to reduce the rates of:
- infants born with low birth weight
- babies who are HIV positive
- infants who die in the first year of life
- emergency room visits and hospital admissions by individuals diagnosed with asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure
The collaboration also works in concert with the Mayor’s goals of decreasing infant mortality, as laid out in the Children’s Health Action Plan and the Addressing Infant Mortality in DC - Citywide Action Plan. The chronic disease goals are consistent to recommendations from The Rand Corporation’s Report, Assessing Health and Health Care in the District of Columbia.
“We are on ambitious ground here,” said Dr. Julie Hudman, Acting Director of DHCF. “Most quality improvement initiatives do not measure health outcomes; they measure things that are done to people. We are at a paradigm shift, moving towards paying for those services that make a difference to an individual and ultimately the community."
In an all day meeting today, health care leaders, advocates and experts will discuss how DHCF will measure improvement, the nature of both areas of concern and interventions to improve birth and chronic illness outcomes.
“Improving health in these ways requires attention to the medical, psychological, and social factors that affect health, said Dr. Julie Hudman. “We are taking a holistic approach to these challenges and look forward to building a strong collaborative that will improve the health of our residents.”
The District of Columbia, Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), formerly the Medicaid Assistance Administration in the Department of Health, became a cabinet level agency on October 1, 2008. The mission of DHCF is to improve health outcomes by providing access to comprehensive, cost-effective and quality healthcare services for residents of the District of Columbia.