For Immediate Release April 29, 2008 Contact Cathy Garber, (505) 220-2892 New Mexico is one of nine states recently selected to participate in the State Quality Improvement Institute—an intensive, competitively-selected effort to help states plan and implement concrete action plans to improve health care performance across targeted quality indicators. The selected states were chosen based on commitment, leadership, and resources necessary to build on previous success and conceptualize and implement substantive new quality improvement efforts. The State Quality Institute is a collaboration of AcademyHealth and The Commonwealth Fund. Led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico (UNM), the state’s team includes scholars, advocates, and practitioners who will work together to address health care disparities through health service delivery quality improvement. New Mexico’s national ranking in health care quality and access to care is substantially below desired levels on numerous national report cards including Aiming Higher: Results from a State Scorecard on Health System Performance sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund in which New Mexico ranked 41 out of 51 jurisdictions in quality of care. In large, this ranking reflects the fact that New Mexicans are not receiving recommended clinical preventive care. “New Mexico has many opportunities to improve the health of its residents by making sure that we put systems in place to ensure that children and adults receive recommended clinical preventive care services,” said Robert Valdez, PhD, the state’s Quality Improvement Initiative leader and Executive Director of the RWJF Center for Health Policy. “Furthermore these services are relatively inexpensive compared to the services required to treat illnesses and are of great benefit to individuals, families, and our society.” According to Valdez, team members will focus on improving care associated with five indicators used to assess quality of care in the Commonwealth Fund’s National Scorecard on U.S. Health System. “These indicators allow our team to directly address the health concerns identified in Governor Richardson’s current strategic plan – childhood vaccination levels, teen pregnancy rates, obesity, and hospital care, especially in state operated facilities across the state,” said Valdez. The team will develop plans of action and implement changes in the care delivery system and state and local health policies that improve system performance as measured in the: · Percent of children ages 19-35 months who have received five key vaccinations · Percent of children with medical and dental preventive care visits · Percent of heart failure patients given written instructions at discharge · Percent of adult diabetics received recommended preventive care · Percent of adults age 50+ receiving recommended preventive care New Mexico ’s participation in the Quality Improvement Institute provides an opportunity to be part of a ‘learning community’ of states dedicated to improving and protecting the health of its residents by improving the quality of care available to all its residents,” said Valdez. “We have the opportunity to create truly a Land of Enchantment that will be envied throughout the nation for an effective and efficient health care system.”