Spotlight on Cincinnati
Friday, March 14, 2014
Cincinnati, Ohio

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s signature effort to lift the quality of health care in 16 diverse communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities and provide models for national reform. AF4Q brings together people who get care, give care and pay for care to work together toward the shared goal of better health and health care.

Today's issue of Spotlight features the work and successes of AF4Q's Cincinnati Alliance.

Cincinnati, Your Next Home?
Looking for a Midwestern community where the quality of the health care available makes it one of America’s most livable cities? The search is over! According to the Top 100 Best Places to Live by, Cincinnati ranked #2 in the nation in the health care category because of its accessible and affordable care. The Cincinnati AF4Q Alliance, led by the Health Collaborative, has been committed to contributing to its community’s health with the development and advancement of the Community-Based Care Transitions Collaborative. The care Transitions program is a CMS initiative led locally by the Council on Aging. The Council partners with the Greater Cincinnati Health Council and five hospitals in this effort. Cincinnati was ranked 73rd of the 100 best cities to live in the United States. The ranking was created based on amenities, civic capital, demographic, economic, education, health care, housing, and infrastructure scores.

Cincinnati is one of 102 sites selected by CMS for the Care Transitions Program which focuses on empowering patients to manage their chronic conditions as a means to help reduce 30-day hospital readmissions. More than 3,000 patients have received care transitions coaching with the initiative. The region has seen an overall decrease of 3.8 percent of Medicare Fee-for-Service readmissions. Patients who received care transitions coaching from the Collaborative reported a 39.9 percent decrease in readmissions. Read more about how the Cincinnati Alliance is helping better its community here.
Improving Diabetes Care Through Better Measurement and Reporting

Type II diabetes has become a national public health threat. As a chronic disease, diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability. The Cincinnati Alliance’s successful implementation of the diabetes composite measure and public reporting contributed to its success in becoming a leader in the area of population health.

A group of local physicians headed the effort to improve diabetes care in Cincinnati by using data abstraction and extraction from patient charts to provide physicians with a “daily dashboard” of their patients’ progress. The dashboard incorporates Minnesota’s D5 composite measures. By adding the D5 data to the dashboard, the Collaborative aligned its measures with those of the national organizations Bridges to Excellence and the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

“Unlike the annual report, the dashboard allows physicians to make real-time interventions to improve quality of care,” said Michael Trombley, MD, family physician at Mercy Health of Cincinnati.

With the data at their fingertips, physicians can develop personalized and comprehensive patient-centered plans. Read more about Cincinnati’s work with Diabetes here.

Because Your Health Matters

High-deductible, consumer-directed health plans currently cover one out of three of all employees in the Cincinnati area. With these plans, getting sick, experiencing an injury, or having a chronic condition can result in significant out-of-pocket expenses. Cincinnati AF4Q recognized the opportunity these self-directed plans create for employers to encourage their employees to become savvy consumers of health care rather than powerless patients. The Health Collaborative works directly with local businesses by providing materials to their employer benefits managers to support conversations about health care quality and patient engagement. Most of the materials are available online at A key feature of the website is its unbiased rankings for local primary care physicians and hospitals. For employers, the benefits are many. Employees who are engaged in their care and making informed health care choices are the key to curbing the increase in the cost of health benefits. In addition, a study by the National Business Group on Health found that healthy employees are more productive and engaged.  Read more about Cincinnati’s approach to employer engagement here.

Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) signature effort to lift the overall quality of health care in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care and provide models for national reform. Alliance teams represent the people who get care, give care, and pay for care.
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