We examine quality improvement (QI) collaboratives underway in 9 states participating in the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) Quality Demonstration Grant Program. A total of 147 diverse, child-serving practices were participating in the collaboratives. We conducted 256 semistructured interviews with key stakeholders from March to August 2012-2 years into the 5-year demonstration projects-and analyzed states' grant applications, operating plans, and progress reports. The collaboratives have multiple complex aims. In addition to developing patient-centered medical home (PCMH) capability, some states use collaboratives to familiarize practices with CMS's Initial Core Set of Children's Health Care Quality Measures, practice-level quality measurement, and improving QI knowledge and skills. The duration of the collaboratives is longer than other well-known collaborative models. Collaboratives also vary in their methods for targeting areas for improvement and strategies for motivating practice recruitment and engagement. States also vary with respect to the other strategies they use to support QI and PCMH development. All states supplement the collaboratives with practice facilitation; the majority utilized practice-level parent engagement, but only 4 used workforce augmentation (ie, providing care coordinators and QI specialists). Practice staff highly valued aspects of the collaboratives and supplemental strategies, including the opportunity to work with experts and other child-serving practices; states' efforts to provide stipends and align demonstration efforts with other professional requirements or programs; receipt of relevant, customized QI materials; opportunities to learn how care coordinators or QI specialists might work in their practice without the risk of hiring them; and satisfaction from learning more about quality measures, QI concepts and techniques, critical medical home components, and how to identify PCMH capacity and performance gaps. However, practice staff also reported a variety of challenges, including difficulty learning from other practices that have very different preexisting QI and PCMH capacity and patient populations, or that are working on different topic areas and measures; a sometimes overwhelming amount of materials and ideas covered during in-person meetings; difficulty keeping up with Webinars, calls, and Web sites/blogs; and trouble motivating and sharing information with other practice staff not attending collaborative activities. As the demonstration projects continue, states and the national evaluation team will learn more about how best to use collaboratives and complementary strategies to support child-serving practices in QI and PCMH development. States will also search for ways to sustain and spread these activities after the demonstration ends, if they prove effective.
Keywords: Medicaid/CHIP; collaborative; patient-centered medical home; primary care; quality improvement.
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