State at a Glance: Pennsylvania

Learn more about the CHIPRA quality demonstration projects being implemented in Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents:


As one of the 10 grantees, Pennsylvania is implementing projects in three of the five grant categories:

  • Showing how a core set of children's quality measures can be used to improve quality of care for
  • Promoting the use of health information technology (IT) to enhance service quality and care
  • Demonstrating the impact of a model electronic health record (EHR) format for children. 

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Pennsylvania's Objectives

Pennsylvania will partner with several medical centers and hospitals to collect, test, and report on the initial core set of children's quality measures and implement electronic linkages to promote early identification for children with developmental delay, behavioral health issues, and complex medical conditions. The State will test an electronic screening tool to enhance communication between providers and families and improve screening and referral rates for several clinical domains. Pennsylvania is one of two grantees that will test and evaluate the model EHR format for children.

Working with the Initial Core Set of Children's Quality Measures

Pennsylvania will electronically collect, test, and report on all of the initial set of children's quality measures in seven health systems by the end of the grant. The focus is on gathering core measure data directly from the health systems' EHRs and reporting measures back to practice sites to drive improvement. Pennsylvania will produce practice‐specific quality reports, provide hospital level incentives for implementing selected measures, and pay for improvements in quality for a subset of measures. Geisinger Health System and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) will be the first systems to implement the measure reporting and will be involved in the pay‐for‐performance component; the other participating health systems will follow. In addition, Pennsylvania will establish a bidirectional linkage of the health systems to the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Statewide Immunization Information System.

Using Health IT to Improve Child Health Care Quality

CHOP and Geisinger will implement a pre‐clinic visit electronic screening tool for early identification of children with developmental delay, behavioral health needs, and complex medical conditions. Results of the screens and any referrals will be placed directly into the patient's EHR. These efforts will enhance provider and patient communication while planned electronic linkages across the continuum of care will improve coordination between physical and mental health providers, child serving social agencies, and across primary and specialty care.

Testing a Model EHR Format for Children

Five of Pennsylvania's grantee health systems will collaborate with their EHR vendors to implement and test the model format and determine the extent to which EHRs can yield data for calculating the core set of quality measures. In addition, project staff will develop and test other electronic quality improvement projects based on format‐compliant EHRs, implement the patient referral/linkage system into EHRs, and link practice sites to the State's Department of Health Immunization Registry through the EHR.

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Evaluation Questions

The national evaluation team will gather information from Pennsylvania to address a wide range of
questions about the implementation and outcomes of its efforts, including:

  • How did Pennsylvania report measures to practices and to what extent did the practices use this
    information to improve quality of care?
  • Did electronic linkages across child‐serving sites improve access to services for children with
    developmental and behavioral concerns?
  • What strategies did Pennsylvania use to test the model EHR format for children?
  • What are the key lessons from Pennsylvania's experience that would be useful for other States?

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Learn More

This information is current as of March 2012, slightly more than 2 years after grant award. To learn more about the projects being implemented in Pennsylvania under the CHIPRA Quality Demonstration Grant Program, please contact:

Kelli Sebastian, CHIPRA Project Manager
PA Department of Public Welfare
DGS Annex Complex-Willow Oak Bldg #43
1006 Hemlock Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17105

To learn more about the national evaluation of the CHIPRA Quality Demonstration Grant Program, send an email to

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Current as of August 2012
Internet Citation: State at a Glance: Pennsylvania. August 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.