(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — The Texas A&M Health Science Center Rural and Community Health Institute has received a $100,000 grant from the state Office of Rural Community Affairs to enable 20 rural hospitals to participate in the Texas Rural Health Partnership (TRHP) Program.

TRHP is a partnership formed by the HSC-Rural and Community Health Institute and the Dallas- Fort Worth Hospital Council (DFWHC) Data Initiative to help health care providers in rural hospitals utilize their administrative data to measure the quality and safety of patient care. This activity also assists rural hospitals comply with some federal and state regulations specific to monitoring and evaluating patient care.

“The Rural and Community Health Institute is very fortunate to have received this grant,” said Kathy Mechler, R.N., M.S., C.P.H.Q., co-director and chief operating officer for the HSC-Rural and Community Health Institute. “The grant will allow 20 rural hospitals to improve quality and patient safety through the use of data.”

To help hospitals, the Texas Rural Health Partnership uses specially designed software that cleanses and corrects patient administrative data. It also offers assistance in obtaining data from billing vendors, analyzing data trends and reports, and providing training and staff support. TRHP also assists hospitals with measurement by utilizing the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Indicators.

TRHP uses Pay-for-Performance (P4P) and Present on Admission (POA) methods to analyze data collected in the hospitals. P4P rewards physicians, hospitals, medical groups and other health care providers for meeting certain performance measures regarding quality and efficiency. POA data is collected at the time a patient is admitted so the development of infections and other conditions the individual might have after being admitted can be assessed.

Hospitals can also use this activity to have TRHP submit their data to the Texas Health Care Information Council (THCIC), a state data base for hospital administrative data.

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