The first conference of the year (for me) was the CMS Quality Conference. The event took place on February 25-27th in Baltimore MD. I had heard about this conference for a number of years from a friend of mine who works for the Quality Improvement Organization in Tampa FL. She and her team had a number of sessions this year, so I decided to attend.  The fact that the program was presented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) also factored into my decision to attend.

As you may or may not know, CMS is the governmental organization that sets policy for those receiving Medicare and/or Medicaid. Although they do not regulate commercial insurance, they do play a strong role in overall health policy. There is a saying that what CMS does commercial insurance will follow – so being alert for the rules and regulations set by Medicare is important for me as a healthcare leader to be aware.

Currently, 44 million beneficiaries—some 15 percent of the U.S. population—are enrolled in the Medicare program. Enrollment is expected to rise to 79 million by 2030. As far as Medicaid, nearly 74 million people are enrolled in Medicaid. The breakdown of the enrollment shows us that 40 percent of them are children; other groups include adults, disabled, and aging people. Medicare covers people 65 years and older, those who are disabled and those with end-stage renal disease. Medicaid covers those under a certain financial status that can differ from State to State. When you hear about entitlement programs, these are two of the major programs talked about.

The meeting brought together over 3000 leaders across the healthcare spectrum to explore what is happening in the area of healthcare quality. Those in attendance were people with chronic conditions, physicians, nurses, patient advocates, Medicare and Medicaid Contractors, researchers, Health Systems, policymakers and other champions interested in health care quality improvement. The topics discussed focused on the most pervasive health system challenges facing us as a country. These included: the opioid problem, pain management, end-stage renal disease, organ donation, interoperability and other issues related to complex and high costs medical and behavioral health conditions.

The goal of the Quality Conference is to advance the Administration’s rapidly-evolving quality agenda. Attendees gained a clear focus on how they can better contribute to action and results that are aligned with new strategic directions from the CMS Office of Administration, The Meaningful Measures Initiative, the QIO 12th Scope of Work, and other key dimensions of for 2020 and beyond.

I found the sessions very interesting and the leadership from CMS open to hearing about issues that are happening as a result of the policies set for all stakeholders To help promote dialogue, there were interactive learning sessions, masterclasses for continuing education credit, and engaging seminars on specific topics as well as keynote addresses that explained what CMS is looking for going forward. Here is the link to the agenda if you would like to review it.

Seema Verma, the Administrator of CMS spoke for 40 minutes on Day 1 of the conference. Her talk was powerful and set goals for CMS as well as those who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Here is a transcript of her remarks

The CMS Quality Conference is among the many events that CMS officers to keep us all updated. The Quality Conference is an annual conference that I would encourage anyone interested in healthcare quality as well as health policy to look at attending in 2021.

Click here to view highlights from the 2020 Quality Conference.  NOTE: I have a small clip where I talk about what I am walking away with. View on Day Three!

Please feel free to leave your comments or questions, in the comment section or email me at

Here is the link to the conferences I will cover over the next few months. If you will be attending, please let me know so we can connect.

Have a good week


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