AHRQ Tool Helps Maine Identify Potential Cost Savings
As a result of attending the December 2007 ""State Healthcare Quality Improvement Workshop,"" sponsored by AHRQ's Knowledge Transfer Quality Diagnostic Tools for States project, Maine officials decided to implement AHRQ tools. They used the Preventable Hospitalization Costs and Mapping Tool and Prevention Quality Indicators (PQIs) to identify areas of potential cost savings for the State.
Trish Riley, MS, Director of the Governor's Health Policy and Finance Office, said that her colleagues ""came back [from the AHRQ workshop] excited and ready to use AHRQ's tools."" Results from the Preventable Hospitalization Costs and Mapping Tool helped Maine's State-level policymakers commit to health care quality improvement and approach community health care leaders.
The AHRQ workshop provided hands-on training for using the Preventable Hospitalization Costs and Mapping Tool, a software program that shows selected AHRQ Quality Indicators for individual States by county. The tool also estimates the cost savings associated with reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations.
Following the workshop, Maine officials used the Preventable Hospitalization Costs and Mapping Tool to generate detailed information based on PQI measures. State-level PQI measure results were also extracted from the tool for comparison between the health districts and the State average. These results were published in the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Department of Health and Human Services 2010 District-State-U.S. Public Health Indicator Comparison Tables. These tables contain results of the PQI measures at the State's health district level, as well as the State level.
Staff from Governor John Baldacci's Office of Health Policy and Finance used the 2010 Public Health Indicator Comparison Tables to engage health care leaders in each district. They organized ""health tours"" with district-level health care leaders to discuss the health and financial implications of PQI results and identified key indicators for reducing health care costs. These activities, along with the Public Health Indicator Comparison Tables and a study on emergency department health care cost drivers, contributed to the 2010-2012 Maine State Health Plan, which aims to reduce specific avoidable hospitalizations by 50 percent in each district by 2015. The plan also predicts the associated health care cost savings.