Press Release

Alliance of Community Health Plans Supports IOM Report on Priority Areas for Action to Improve Health Care Quality

Washington, D.C. – The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) today welcomed and supported the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) January 7, 2003 report, Priority Areas for National Action: Transforming Health Care Quality.

“Reports like this may sound abstract, but the message is crystal clear – we need to improve care for each patient in each of these areas,” commented Jack Ebeler, President and CEO of ACHP. “And patients should ask what their doctor, hospital and health plan are doing about making such improvements.”

He noted that George Isham, MD, Medical Director and Chief Health Officer of HealthPartners, chaired the committee for the IOM. “Dr. Isham is one of the nations’ leaders in quality care, and was the 2001 and 2002 chair of the ACHP medical directors committee.” Mr. Ebeler also served on the IOM committee.

Dr. Isham said that “These priorities should serve as an important starting point for the transformation of the quality of care in this country. Among the next steps called for in the report is for both the public and private sectors to identify practical strategies for improving care. I am pleased that ACHP has planned a conference in February to work on improving practices in population-based care, a good example of Care Coordination, one of the Cross Cutting Priorities identified in the report.”

The report recommends an initial list of 20 priorities for focused improvements and evidence-based transformation as called for in IOM’s groundbreaking report Crossing the Quality Chasm. A summary of the list of priorities is attached, and the IOM announcement is available

Priority Areas for National Attention: Transforming Health Care Quality
Summary of 20 Priority Areas

Care coordination (cross-cutting)

Self-management/health literacy (cross-cutting)

Asthma — appropriate treatment for persons with mild/moderate persistent asthma

Cancer screening that is evidence-based — focus on colorectal and cervical cancer

Children with special health care needs

Diabetes — focus on appropriate management of early disease

End of life with advanced organ system failure — focus on congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Frailty associated with old age — preventing falls and pressure ulcers, maximizing function, and developing advanced care plans

Hypertension — focus on appropriate management of early disease

Immunization — children and adults

Ischemic heart disease — prevention, reduction of recurring events, and optimization of functional capacity

Major depression — screening and treatment

Medication management — preventing medication errors and overuse of antibiotics

Nosocomial infections — prevention and surveillance

Pain control in advanced cancer

Pregnancy and childbirth — appropriate prenatal and intrapartum care

Severe and persistent mental illness — focus on treatment in the public sector

Stroke — early intervention and rehabilitation

Tobacco dependence treatment in adults

Obesity (emerging area)