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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation selects the Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality to continue participation in national quality improvement initiative

The Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality announced today that it has been selected to receive a grant of $1.7 million over the next two years from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative, a national effort to improve the quality and value of health care in communities across America. 

The Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality (Coalition) is one of 16 organizations across the United States that has been designated as an Aligning Forces community, and Albuquerque has been participating in the initiative since 2009. 

The Aligning Forces for Quality program was originally launched by the foundation in 2006 and remains the largest effort of its kind ever undertaken by a U.S. philanthropy. Through the program, the Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality works to improve health care in Albuquerque by engaging patients in their care, publicly reporting on the performance of physicians and hospitals, and implementing quality improvement techniques. The foundation hopes to develop national models of reform based on the lessons learned by the Coalition, as well as the other Aligning Forces communities.

In this next phase of AF4Q, the Coalition will develop and test models of paying for health care as it continues to build momentum to improve the quality of care delivered locally. 

“We are excited to continue bringing together community members, health care providers, hospitals, employers and health plans to collaborate on improving health care in Albuquerque,” said Patricia Montoya, project director for the Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality. “While there are many positive activities currently underway in Albuquerque’s health care system, we are confident that by exploring new ways to provide better quality care, our effort will succeed in making Albuquerque healthier.” 

In the next two years, the Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality and the 15 other AF4Q communities will take the tools of measurement, improvement and engagement and use them to demonstrate change outside their markets. The program will work to expand the fundamental, cutting-edge changes already implemented in local communities to meet the goals of a reformed health care system: better value, greater transparency and improved care coordination. 

“The Aligning Forces communities are models of health care improvement. The community organizations working on this effort have pioneered ground-breaking concepts that are also being explored through federal reform and have attracted bipartisan support, such as physician performance reports, patient-centered medical homes, and of late, payment reform,” said Anne F. Weiss, MPP, team director and senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “In this next phase, communities will continue to make measurable improvements in quality by placing greater focus on increasing the value of health care delivered.” 

In 2010, the Coalition released its first community public report on ambulatory care, Medical Group Snapshot, which shows how participating Albuquerque medical groups are performing in specific areas of care. The Coalition also established a business advisory group to help businesses learn more about health care quality and efficiency and how both can affect cost. And in partnership with the New Mexico Medical Review Association, the Coalition is working with the New Mexico Department of Health to help standardize the collection of race and ethnicity data in hospitals statewide. This data will be used for quality improvement efforts and to help reduce disparities in health care.

This new funding will help the Coalition work towards achieving true market-level improvement in health care quality and efficiency, with the goal of decreasing costs. The Coalition will begin looking at high-value, outcome-focused payment reform and leveraging health information technology in its efforts to improve health care quality. The Coalition also plans to focus on primary care and emergency department clinical settings, with specific emphases on diabetes, asthma, cardiac disease and high blood pressure. 

The Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality is located at and is partners with the New Mexico Medical Review Association (NMMRA).  NMMRA, the state’s federally qualified Quality Improvement Organization (QIO), is the AF4Q grant holder on behalf of the Albuquerque community.  NMMRA focuses on positive changes in the health care system.  In addition to partnering with the AF4Q initiative, NMMRA also works with New Mexico Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (NM HITREC) and leads such initiatives as the New Mexico Prescription Improvement Coalition.  NMMRA was recently informed by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services that its contract as the New Mexico QIO was being renewed for the next three years.

AF4Q is designed to drive quality improvement by aligning key players in local communities, and brings an unprecedented commitment of resources, expertise and training to turn proven practices into real results. The Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality’s continued participation brings direct financial support and technical assistance and training from national experts, coordinated by the Center for Health Care Quality at The George Washington University, the national AF4Q program office.

Additional grant recipients include:

  • Alliance for Health – Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Better Health Greater Cleveland – Cleveland, Ohio
  • Community Health Alliance of Humboldt-Del Norte, Inc. – Eureka, Calif.    
  • Greater Detroit Area Health Council – Detroit, Mich.
  • Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati – Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Healthy Memphis Common Table – Memphis, Tenn.
  • Healthy York County Coalition – York, Pa.
  • Kansas City Quality Improvement Consortium – Kansas City, Mo.
  • Maine Aligning Forces for Quality – Augusta, Maine
  • Massachusetts Health Quality Partners – Boston, Mass.
  • Minnesota Community Measurement – Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation – Portland, Ore.
  • Puget Sound Health Alliance – Seattle, Wash.
  • P2 Collaborative of Western New York – Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality – Madison, Wis.

For more information about the Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality and its work, visit