After 11 Years, PHCQA Closes on April 30th

April 15, 2019

Since 2008, the Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance (PHCQA) has published health care quality performance data for all Pennsylvania hospitals on its website,  PHCQA was at the forefront of publicly reporting transparent, objective quality of care information.  Through the guidance of the Measures and Methods Committee, composed of experts in quality measurement from a variety of Pennsylvania health care stakeholders, PHCQA developed a trusted measure set that was incorporated into several value-based insurance reimbursement programs.  PHCQA’s user-friendly, interactive search and reporting functions offered consumers, providers, and payers the ability to compare quality of care among Pennsylvania hospitals.  PHCQA became an operating division of HCIF in 2015.

In recent years, multiple public and private sources of hospital quality information have emerged.  As a result, on April 30, 2019, the PHCQA website will close.  Users should download any needed data files or reports, as no archived data will be maintained or accessible after that date.  If you are seeking similar information on the quality of Pennsylvania’s hospitals, please visit the websites of CMS Hospital Compare, the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, or the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.

The Health Care Improvement Foundation would like to thank all those who served on the Measures and Methods Committee; Ancilla Partners, who built and maintained the website; and PHCQA’s longstanding funders, including Independence Blue Cross, Capital Blue Cross, Geisinger, and UPMC.

PURC’s February Executive Meeting Update: New Focus on Opioid Stewardship

February 18, 2019

On February 7th, the PURC Executive Team – prostate cancer clinical experts, data abstractors, patient advocates and practice administrators – convened at Independence Live in Philadelphia to discuss the current progress and future directions of the collaborative. PURC is a prostate cancer quality improvement initiative that brings urology practices together in a physician-led, data-sharing and improvement collaborative. Headlining the meeting was an update from the newly established Opioid Working Group, which focuses on improving opioid stewardship for prostatectomy patients. Dr. Daniel Lee and Dr. Ruchika Talwar from Penn Urology shared promising early results from their new initiative to reduce excess narcotic use in prostatectomy and nephrectomy surgery discharges. In order to do so, Penn urologists have implemented a pain management pathway that initially emphasizes prescribing alternative pain medications with escalation protocols to opioids if pain cannot be controlled. The Opioid Working Group hopes to pilot this pathway at additional PURC practices. In the meantime, the Opioid Working Group is developing variables and measures to understand opioid prescribing patterns across PURC practices.

Dr. Serge Ginzburg, PURC physician champion from Einstein Healthcare Network, shared his technique to perform a transperineal prostate biopsy, which research suggests significantly reduces the chance of infections regardless of whether or not an antibiotic is prescribed prior to the biopsy. The Biopsy Working Group will continue to monitor infection rates associated with this technique.

PURC is pleased to announce that over 10,000 patients have now been entered into its data registry. As the dataset grows, PURC improves its position for research, grants, and clinical trials.



CPR Ready Kicks Off the First of Three Workshops with the Boy Scouts

February 14, 2019

With generous support from The Foundation for Delaware County, CPR Ready led the first of a series of three train-the-trainer workshops with Boy Scout troop leaders on February 5th.  Gus Totolos and Nabil Abdulhay from The Mobile CPR Project instructed 19 troop leaders from the Minquas District in hands-only CPR and AED use.  The timing of the workshop could not have been better.  Just a couple of weeks before, a Scout experienced a sudden cardiac arrest during a field trip.  Fortunately, a troop leader, who also is a physician at Penn Medicine, began chest compressions and saved the boy’s life.

Each troop leader who attended the workshop received two CPR Anytime kits, which include inflatable manikin and instructional DVD, donated by the American Heart Association.  Troop leaders will use these manikins to train their scouts and other members of the Delaware County community.

Upcoming CPR Ready Workshops with the Boy Scouts include:

Constellation District:  March 27
Conestoga District:  April 9

Improving Patient Safety through the Leapfrog Survey and Regional Collaboration

November 30, 2018

On November 13, HCIF and Capital BlueCross hosted the third annual half-day conference entitled, “Improving Patient Safety through the Leapfrog Survey and Regional Collaboration.”  The conference gathered quality and safety leaders from hospitals across Central Pennsylvania to learn about innovative approaches to central line-associated blood stream infection (CLABSI) prevention and management of risks and hazards.  These topics had been identified as opportunities for improvement and shared learning by analyzing Leapfrog Hospital Survey scorecard results.  The conference highlighted how local hospitals are leveraging their Leapfrog Survey results to drive quality improvement.

Featured speakers included Maureen Ann Frye, Director of the Center for Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality at Abington Jefferson Health and Dr. Valeria Fabre, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins.  Ms. Frye presented on how hospitals can identify and mitigate risks and hazards through a framework of awareness, accountability, ability, and action.  By sharing tools and strategies employed at Abington Jefferson Health, Ms. Frye also focused on how to integrate the assessment of risks and hazards with a high reliability strategy.  Dr. Fabre’s presentation described strategies implemented at Johns Hopkins intended to achieve their goal of zero CLABSI.  Dr. Fabre also showcased Johns Hopkins’ innovative approach to reduce unnecessary blood cultures.  Reaction panels comprising of representatives from local, high-performing hospitals who shared additional quality improvement strategies followed both presentations.

HCIF and Capital BlueCross will next host a webinar in the spring to present analyses of 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Survey scorecard data.

HCIF Launches New Project: POSSE

October 9, 2018

With funding from the AmerisourceBergen Foundation, The Health Care Improvement Foundation is partnering with Pennsylvania National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Consortium to launch a new project to prevent chronic opioid use among post-surgical patients. For more information: