Major announcements and news related to program, state, or policy changes

Telligen Takes On RQITA
October 16th, 2023

Telligen Takes On RQITA

HRSA has recently awarded RQITA to Telligen, Inc, a 100-percent employee-owned population health company based in West Des Moines, Iowa. We have over 50 years of quality improvement experience and provide unique services to meet the needs of our clients and ensure success. 

We will provide various resources and services, including but not limited to:
  • A new Telligen RQITA website
  • Up-to-date resources, guides and tools
  • 1:1 technical assistance
  • Office hours
  • Learning & action webinar events
We will also continue to provide a monthly newsletter to keep you up-to-date and share industry news.

In This Issue:

The Telligen RQITA Team

Susan Buchanan

Susan Buchanan, MPH, is a Director at Telligen with 30 years of experience in quality improvement, health IT, and value-based payment models.  She has led Telligen’s role in many rural-focused federal programs including the Frontier Community Health Integration Project; Quality Payment Program Small, Underserved, Rural Support program; Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative and Regional Health IT Extension Center. These programs provide technical assistance with performance measurement and improvement interventions.

She lives in Iowa and shares a fun fact that her family owns a “century farm” that has been operational for over 100 years.

Meg Nugent

Meg Nugent, MHA, RN is a Director at Telligen with over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She is the current Program Manager for Telligen’s Hospital Quality Improvement Contract (HQIC) with CMS serving 192 small, rural, critical access, and safety net hospitals across 15 states and territories. She has also overseen prior Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) and Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) contracts as well as the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) contract, leading hospitals and clinicians from multiple states around the country in quality measurement, performance improvement, and value-based care delivery model improvement efforts. 

Her hobbies include traveling and spending time on the beach.

Alaina Brothersen

Alaina Brothersen, MPH, has been working in healthcare quality improvement for nine years. She has provided technical assistance for hospital settings and rural nursing home settings across the country through quality improvement projects in evaluative roles.

With a background in public health and program evaluation she has performed measure development, quality improvement intervention development, technical assistance, and evaluations for numerous federal quality programs.

Her hobbies include hiking, gardening and reading.

Ann Loges

Ann Loges, RN, BSN is a Senior Quality Improvement Facilitator at Telligen with 31 years of nursing experience. Her major accomplishments include leadership in multi-hospital improvement initiatives, EHR implementation responsibilities, and hospital strategic planning with ties to point of care goals.

Ann has experience in the full spectrum of quality data; from patient level chart abstraction, data reporting, and use of data measures to drive improvement. This includes practicing as a Quality Director in a critical assess hospital to offering direct technical assistance to multiple hospitals and collaborating with state and federal partners.

Her hobbies include golf and cards.

Courtnay Ryan

Courtnay Ryan is a Sr. Quality Improvement Facilitator at Telligen with over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She currently splits her time at Telligen supporting long-term care facilities with quality measure reporting and teaching quality improvement methodologies, while the other half supporting our Learning and Action Network (LAN ) QIN-QIO strategy for events and technical assistance. 

Her work has spanned across many areas within the healthcare industry, including being a certified nursing assistant, administrative duties including ED admissions/discharges, billing/coding and serving as a Quality Improvement Specialist for the Colorado State Office of Rural Health for 6 years.

Courtnay is a small town country girl and former professional barrel racer.

Telligen's Rural Experience

We have worked alongside partners on various state and federal initiatives and are experienced in providing rural quality improvement technical assistance for the following initiatives:
  • Hospital Quality Improvement Contractor (HQIC)
  • Frontier Community Health Integration Program (FCHIP)
  • Quality Innovation Network Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO)
  • Quality Payment Program Small Underserved Rural Support (QPP SURS)
  • Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Program, (MBQIP)
  • American Indian Alaska Native Healthcare Quality Initiative (AIANHQI)
We are here to help you! If you have any questions about this transition, please send an email by clicking the button below.
Email the Telligen RQITA Team
This publication is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $640,000 with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official view of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit (September 2023)

Copyright © 2023 Telligen, All rights reserved.

Texas Wins the 2021 MBQIP Spirit Award!
July 30th, 2021

Rural Resilience for Healthier Communities

On July 30th, 2021, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced that the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) State Office of Rural Health has won national recognition for its effort to expand and improve delivery of first class health care in rural Texas during the 2021 Flex Program Virtual Reverse Site Visit conference. The Texas Flex Program, a program managed by the State Office of Rural Health to support and improve Critical Access Hospitals in rural areas, was awarded the 2021 Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement (MBQIP) Spirit Award by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

“This award is not just recognition for the job we’re doing here in the TDA State Office of Rural Health,” said Miller, “but for the tremendous job done by all the healthcare professionals at rural hospitals across the Lone Star State. The recent COVID-19 pandemic packed a wallop for rural hospitals, but this award shows that we’ve come out stronger and better, because that’s what Texans do. We don’t just survive, we thrive. I could not be more proud.”

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller

The goal of the MBQIP Spirit Award is to recognize state programs that strive to be innovative, improve and advance the objectives of the federal project in their state. According to Natalia Vargas, Federal MBQIP Officer for Texas, the Spirit Award “underscores the incredible efforts, hard work, innovative thinking to problem solve, and the drive to truly make healthcare better for rural populations.”

Flex Coordinator Robert Shaw

Flex coordinator Robert Shaw from the State Office of Rural Health stated, "Texas is a big'ol state, and I am proud to say that we all work together— from our quality partners at the CAHs, Texas Hospital Association, and Texas A&M Rural and Community Health Institute, along with our Federal partners, to move our state forward in our quality journey. Everyone has a role to play in improving quality!"

The Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) is a quality improvement activity under the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) program of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). The goal of MBQIP is to improve the quality of care provided in critical access hospitals (CAHs), by increasing quality data reporting by CAHs and then driving quality improvement activities based on the data.

Dedicated to serving the health needs of rural Texas, the TDA State Office of Rural Health (SORH) works with local health care providers and other partners to support access to quality health care for rural Texans. SORH works to support rural health providers by providing technical assistance with finance, operations, and quality through a variety of grant programs, workshops, and one-on-one assistance. Additional resources include educational awards that are available to individual clinicians and health care institutions, information and referral, funding resources, and assistance with medical license applications.

Conditions of Participation Related to COVID Reporting
August 31, 2020

Dear Flex Program Colleagues,

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted an interim final rule (IFR) related to COVID-19 surveillance with new reporting and testing requirements for nursing homes and other providers, including hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs). The new rules make reporting a requirement of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs for both hospitals and CAHs. The IFR states: “Should a hospital or CAH fail to consistently report test results throughout the duration of the PHE for COVID-19, it will be non-compliant with the hospital and the CAH CoPs” (Conditions of Participation) “set forth at §§ 482.42(e) and 485.640(d), respectively, and subject to termination as defined at 42 CFR 489.53(a)(3).“

Hospitals and CAHs

Hospitals and CAHs will be required to report data daily, including but not limited to elements such as the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 positive patients, intensive care unit beds occupied, and availability of essential supplies and equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE). In March, Vice President Pence sent a letter to all hospitals requesting that they provide the results of COVID-19 tests performed in their in-house laboratories to help better understand and track disease patterns. CMS’ new rules require such reporting of test results in order to ensure a more complete picture in the nationwide surveillance of COVID-19, as well as a more efficient allocation of PPE and other vital supplies.

More Information

Please see the links below to a brief fact sheet about the IFR and the full IFR, that pertain not only to hospitals and CAHs, but also to labs, nursing homes, and physician and pharmacist orders for COVID-19 testing.

CMS Fact Sheet:

Interim Final Rule:

Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions.

Nicole Clement | Program Specialist

National Rural Health Resource Center

Texas Department of Agriculture
MBQIP Data Reporting Reminders
August 6, 2020

Important Notice:

Per recent announcements from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, quality reporting is optional for data collected during Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 of 2020. Hospitals that can report for these quarters are strongly encouraged to do so. Please review the information below carefully. For more information, please see the Quality Reporting Updates Due to COVID-19 Pandemic article in the April 2020 MBQIP Monthly.

August 15, 2020
CMS Inpatient Measures
  • Patients seen Q1 2020 (January, February, March)
  • CMS Hospital Inpatient Reporting Specifications Manual version 5.7
  • Submitted to the QualityNet warehouse via CART or by vendor
  • CART version 4.25
October 31, 2020
Emergency Department Transfer Communication (EDTC)
  • Patients seen Q3 2020 (July, August, September)
  • Note –there is no reporting exception for Q3 2020 submission
  • Make sure to use the revised EDTC Manual for 2020 encounters
  • Submission process directed by state Flex Program
November 1, 2020
CMS Population and Sampling (optional)
  • Patients seen Q2 2020 (April, May, June)
  • Inpatient and outpatient
  • Entered via the Secure Portal on QualityNet or HARP account
November 1, 2020
CMS Outpatient Measures
  • Patients seen Q2 2020 (April, May, June)
  • CMS Hospital Outpatient Reporting Specifications Manual version 13.0a
  • Submitted to the QualityNet warehouse via CART or by vendor
  • CART version 1.18.1

COVID-19 Update
March 31, 2020

Hello Rural Health Partners,

First off, we would like to thank you for your hard work in quality reporting and improvement efforts. Thank you for everything that you do to submit MBQIP data. As we are aware, you may be facing hardships to submit MBQIP data due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are unable to submit MBQIP data due to COVID-19, we understand and with guidance from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, you will not be penalized for not reporting. However, the State of Texas has come a long way in reporting MBQIP measures, and if you are still able, we encourage you to continue reporting, as measures will be used to inform both ours and the federal efforts about making improvements in care for rural populations.

While hospitals direct their resources toward caring for ill patients and ensuring the health and safety of their staff, we recognize that any quality measure reporting during this national emergency may not be reflective of actual performance. Alongside our Federal partners, we will continue to monitor the developing COVID-19 situation and re-assess reporting requirements as needed.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or need anything. Stay safe and healthy!

Robert Shaw | Flex Coordinator

State Office of Rural Health

Texas Department of Agriculture