Quality Improvement Organizations, or QIO’s are an important facet of the American public health system. What exactly is a QIO and what is its function? Read on for more.
QIO Basics and History
Since their creation, medicaid and medicare programs are our society’s tools for maintaining public health and wellness despite demographic, social, and financial barriers. One program is built around caring for the aging while the other focuses on providing healthcare for the financially challenged.
In order for programs like these to be maintained as effectively and efficiently as possible, the government discovered that it needed a way to accurately evaluate and then make any needed adjustments with regard to the overall administration of these two healthcare programs. Enter the QIO’s. Quality Improvement Organizations were thus introduced as a tool of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS for the evaluation and subsequent maintenance of the Medicaid and Medicare programs.
Understanding the levels of service provided as well as the advantages and downfalls of these two healthcare programs are key priorities. The ultimate goal is assurance that Medicare and Medicaid patients receive excellent, competitive healthcare and that the overall administration of the two programs is also efficient and effective. As a result, the formation and deployment of a QIO consists of the formation of a CMS-overseen group that will investigate, survey, and analyze the use of these two programs within the healthcare industry. A contractor is often specifically hired for this. Once all data is gathered, it is then submitted to the CMS for further action if deemed necessary.
The QIO program of the CMS is itself also monitored for efficiency and efficacy. This is achieved through a yearly report provided to congress for review. Yearly QIO costs, program methods, outcomes, and more are all reported to congress here. For a list of these publicly accessible, yearly reports, one can look to this same CMS website link, and refer to the section titled “QIO Reports to Congress.”
Along with current objectives and program parameters, the CMS also provides a general summary of its past QIO endeavors and accomplishments. Past focus of QIO efforts were more focused on quality in nursing homes, home healthcare, physician practices, and hospitals. It is reported that many opportunities for improvement were found in these areas and many regulations subsequently implemented so as to correct identified shortcomings and “transform” the overall Medicare and Medicaid experience therein.
Current and future QIO missions are also plainly stated for public knowledge by the CMS. Right now, the CMS is in the midst of a restructuring and self-assessment period itself. So as to assure its own QIO efficacy, the CMS lists its comprehensive, self-analysis efforts. Of particular interest to the CMS is the harvesting of outside input and opinion. The center openly requests here that anyone with possible insight or relevant ideas feel comfortable in coming forward and presenting their concept to the center. These current and future goals are in contrast to the main focuses in the past with regard to the actual healthcare field and its providers.
QIO’s are the tools with which our government can assess the use of today’s Medicaid and Medicare programs. This not only serves the patients, but it also promotes excellence in the healthcare industry as well as safeguards against the waste of public resources and taxpayer dollars. For more information on Quality Improvement Organizations or their parent agency, the CMS, we encourage you to visit the official CMS website by following the links above or by entering the center’s homepage.