EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third part in a four part series on alignment to achieve quality outcomes: Understanding CMS quality strategy goals

In the first two articles of this series, the CMS Quality Strategy Goals were discussed:  1st — Safe Care, 2nd — Person and Family Engagement, and 3rd— Effective Communication through Coordination of Care.

While those quality and strategic goals are audacious, the other half of the plan is the Mount Everest of Healthcare. Few will get there, but those who do will be on top of the world. But we have to make the climb, we have to work together, and we have to do it.

When you examine the last three goals of the CMS strategic plan, there are common themes or bodies of work.  But you have to work backward to understand how they are interrelated.

You might think that this is our current system. Data is being used to determine payments based on performance, otherwise known as value based performance. Think of value base performance as the base camp of the mountain. Value based payment is getting everyone acclimated.

Now think about climbing to the summit. That is where new tools, new methods and partnerships will have to be developed. Partnerships at the local level are similar to the role that sherpas have in navigating the terrain. They will help organizations to take the right steps.

One of the objectives within the CMS Strategic Plan is to improve access within communities to healthy living best practices. Another is promoting evidence-based community interventions to prevent and treat chronic disease.

Can you feel yourself looking up at the summit, where there is little or no oxygen, knowing that you have to go there but you’re not sure how?

One of the most important actions you can do is determine who are the “sherpas” you entrust your residents and business to help you through the terrain of healthcare change. Care at the local level can happen only with clear concise partnerships and partners who understand how to climb a mountain.

Next month, I will share with you some measures that you can do to prepare for the mountain climb, beyond what you are doing now.

Martie Moore, RN, MAOM, CPHQ, is the chief nursing officer at Medline Industries Inc. and a corporate advisory council member for the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel.