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U-M researchers receive $8 million grant to improve quality of care for children

U-M’s CHEAR Unit is one of seven Centers of Excellence chosen by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to improve pediatric health care measures

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – University of Michigan researchers have received a four-year $8 million grant to help develop, test and refine pediatric health care measures for children in the United States. Dr. Gary L. Freed, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Division of General Pediatrics and Director of the Children’s Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, will be the principal investigator leading a team of at least 10 researchers and at least 8 partners and research centers and organizations, including the State of Michigan Medicaid Program. The University of Michigan was one of seven top medical centers in the country to receive such grants, which will be used to improve the quality and outcomes of health care for the country's children, including the almost 40 million children enrolled in Medicaid and/or the Children's Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP. “We are thrilled to get started on this project, which will affect the way children are cared for in this country in profound ways,” Freed says. “There currently are only very limited ways to measure the quality of care provided to children for in this country. Having standard measures will help to improve the quality of care for our nation’s children.” Funding for the work comes from the 2009 Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, also known as CHIPRA. Since the law was passed, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have worked together to implement selected provisions of the legislation related to children's health care quality. The law calls for the identification of an initial set of core measures to be used to assess the state of children's health care quality across and within State Medicaid and CHIP programs and to establish the CHIPRA Pediatric Quality Measures Program to improve and strengthen the initial core set of measures and develop new measures.   U-M’s program is called the Quality Measurement, Evaluation, Testing, Review, and Implementation Consortium or Q-METRIC. Under the program, researchers will: • develop new pediatric quality measures to meet explicit high priority objectives identified through a public process; • enhance existing measures within an explicit set of priorities identified through a public process; • develop or enhance cross-cutting methodologies to allow for data capture and sharing via health IT • identify and compare racial and ethnic, socioeconomic, and special healthcare need disparities, and address risk adjustment; • engage user groups including frontline healthcare providers, state programs, private insurers, patients and families to ensure measures are practical   Partners include Altarum Institute; HealthCore, Inc; National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions; National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality; Vanderbilt University Department of Medical Informatics; and the American Board of Pediatrics. The project will work with the Michigan Medicaid program, and will include a representative from the family advocacy group Family Voices to ensure involvement of families and patients. The project also will work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to ensure additional parent involvement.   All funded projects will focus on quality measures for children’s healthcare, including preventive health services, healthcare for acute conditions, chronic health care and health services to ameliorate the effects of physical and mental conditions and to aid in growth and development of infants, young children, school-age children, and adolescents, including those with special health care needs.   About the U-M Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit: Founded in 1998, U-M’s CHEAR Unit is a national leader in the analysis of the American health care system and the organization and financing of care for children. Since its inception, the CHEAR Unit has been awarded over $40 million in research grants from federal, state, and foundation sources. Based in the Division of General Pediatrics in the School of Medicine, the CHEAR Unit comprises core faculty from the Schools of Medicine, Social Work, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Public Health, Business and Law. Multidisciplinary teams provide the structure for research of community, state and national child health policies, practices, and programs. There are more than 30 faculty affiliated with CHEAR. More information available at:    

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