Healthy Eating and Kids: A Q&A With a Pediatrics Registered Dietitian

Healthy Eating and Kids: A Q&A With a Pediatrics Registered Dietitian

Healthy Eating and Kids: A Q&A With a Pediatrics Registered Dietitian

Bethesda, MD, April 2020

To celebrate today’s Tasty Tuesday for Every Kid Healthy Week, we interviewed a pediatric Registered Dietitian. Carol Henderson, a member of Econometrica’s Health Group, is a pediatrics Registered Dietitian who has worked with children and teens and their families for dozens of years. In particular, she worked with infants and children with feeding and growth issues and children diagnosed with chronic conditions and diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, juvenile arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, and severe food allergies.

Interviewer: I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about what it is like working as a pediatric dietitian and what you want to accomplish when working with children and their families?

Carol: The primary goal when working as a dietitian with pediatric patients who are sick is to ensure adequate, proportional growth throughout childhood. Some children need to grow bigger and become stronger and some need to minimize their growth over time. Pediatric dietitians also evaluate a child’s activity level, daily schedule, parent/caregiver roles, timing of meals and mealtime environment, food availability, meal preparation, and sleep patterns to gauge an individual’s nutritional needs. These actions align with each of the daily themes we are celebrating during Every Kid Healthy Week:

  • Mindfulness Monday. Preparing healthy meals for a family is an investment that not only requires time, commitment, but also a state of mindfulness—a sense of calm that is needed to prepare meals, even during chaotic family times. Taking time out once a week to inventory foods on hand and create a shopping list may make it easier to put meals on the table.
  • Tasty Tuesday. Today, which is Nutrition and Healthy Eating day, is a good time to assess the nutritional quality of the snacks your child/children are eating and how often they snack throughout the day. It is important to develop healthy feeding habits (have set times for meal and snack intervals—especially for young children) so they can achieve their nutritional intake goals every day.
  • Earth Day Wellness Wednesday. Have you every quizzed your child to see where they think different food ingredients come from? This activity can turn into a project. You can select an ingredient in a dish you are preparing and ask if it comes from an animal, plant, or is it a mineral and go from there!
  • Thoughtful Thursday. Kids react to their environment and learn from others. Therefore, creating a pleasant environment where your child can sit and eat meals at regular intervals and interact with other family members contributes to their social and physical well-being.
  • Fitness Friday. Kids wiggle, squirm, run, and love to play—all things that contribute to their development. It is your job as parents/caregivers to find outlets for children to keep them active.

Interviewer: How did you pick dietetics as a profession?

Carol: Dietetics found me! I was going to become a high school chemistry teacher. In college, I conducted my junior year teaching practicum in a local high school. A small group of students in one chemistry class thought it would be hilarious to capitalize on my untested teaching skills, so they combined all the reagents (acids and bases) that lined the lab benches and blew up the chem lab. Everyone evacuated safely and I stood in the middle of the chem lab while the sprinklers were raining down on me and said, “I don’t ever want to be a chemistry teacher!” Because chemistry is such an integral part of food science and dietetics, I found a new calling.

Interviewer: There are so many different paths you could have undertaken with a dietetics degree, why pediatrics?

Carol: My oldest sister had just completed medical school and she received her residency “match” at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. At the same time, I completed my Dietetic Internship at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, so we moved in together. A dietitian position opened at Cincinnati Children’s and I became one of two dietitians for a 750-bed hospital. That would not happen today. Nowadays, a children’s hospital of the same size would have more than 35 dietetic staff members. It has been a great blessing to have worked with children, teens, and their families as a pediatric dietitian and patient advocate for many decades.

Interviewer: Carol, do you have any parting thoughts you would like to share today?

Carol: The greatest gift I have received from working as a pediatric dietitian is the importance of play. Play consumes all children. I think as adults we should consume more play in our lives!

 

Interview edited for length and clarity. Thanks to Emma Wellington for conducting this interview.

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Econometrica Launches New Course

Econometrica Launches New Course

Econometrica Launches New Course

Bethesda, MD, April 2020

Econometrica launched a new course about handwashing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly is the best thing, aside from social distancing, that you can do to protect yourself and your community from the spread of COVID-19. Adapted from guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the new course will focus on when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy – a simple task, yet often misunderstood and performed poorly.

The new course is available at https://econometricainc.com/training/.

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Looking Ahead in Quality Improvement

Looking Ahead in Quality Improvement

Looking Ahead in Quality Improvement

Bethesda, MD, April 2020

In February, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sponsored the CMS Quality Conference, an annual meeting of leaders and stakeholders dedicated to improving the quality, safety, and value of modern healthcare. Econometrica employees participated in this 3-day conference, which gathers the brightest in the field (including Government employees, providers, researchers, policymakers, professional society members, and others) to discuss several existing and future quality improvement initiatives. As the Affordable Care Act, the legislation that created many of these quality programs, celebrated its 10-year anniversary this March, the conference emphasized current and upcoming quality improvement programs. Econometrica has engaged with many of these models in the past; in this article, we highlight and look ahead to several key innovations discussed at the conference.

 

The Quality Payment Program (QPP) was the focus of many conference sessions. Created under the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015, the QPP aims to improve care and reduce costs while also easing provider burden. Clinicians may choose to participate via two tracks: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), or Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APM). Through MIPS, clinicians are reimbursed based on quality of care as measured by performance in four domains: quality, cost, improvement activities, and promoting interoperability. Scores on measures in these domains are aggregated into a final score that determines a payment adjustment. Clinicians may also receive incentive payments for participating in an Advanced APM. APMs are payment frameworks that offer incentive payments for the provision of high-quality, cost-efficient care. Under the QPP’s Advanced APM option, a 5-percent incentive is available for clinicians who meet threshold levels of payments or patients through an Advanced APM.


Conference sessions highlighted CMS’ plans for implementation of the new MIPS Value Pathways (MVP) framework for participation in QPP beginning in the 2021 performance period. The goal of MVPs is to simplify and lower reporting burden. MVPs allow clinicians to report on measures and activities that are specialty- or practice-specific with a base of interoperability measures and population health measures derived from administrative claims data.

 

Other innovative models highlighted at the conference include the Integrated Care for Kids model and the Maternal Opioid Misuse model. The Integrated Care for Kids model aims to address challenges in children’s health through early identification and treatment of health issues and improved quality of care for children. It promotes care coordination across providers and creates State-specific APMs to enhance payment for quality of care and outcomes. Model participants include Lead Organizations, which are made up of community partners; State Medicaid Agencies; and Partnership Councils. The Maternal Opioid Misuse model is one of CMS’ models designed to respond to the opioid crisis by targeting the lack of coordination of care for pregnant and postpartum patients with Opioid Use Disorder. It further looks to increase access to necessary services and the availability of care providers for pregnant and postpartum women with Opioid Use Disorder.

 

Econometrica is excited to be part of such a vibrant conversation about the future of quality improvement! We look forward to continuing to work with CMS and other leaders in the field to drive healthcare innovations that promote the provision of high-quality care at efficient cost.

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Reflecting on 10 Years of Healthcare Innovation

Reflecting on 10 Years of Healthcare Innovation

Reflecting on 10 Years of Healthcare Innovation

The Econometrica Team celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and the many innovations it created.

Bethesda, MD, March 2020

On March 23, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) celebrates its 10-year anniversary. A landmark body of legislation, the ACA has left a lasting impact on healthcare in the United States. One of the key tenets of the legislation highlights its dedication to original and novel solutions to healthcare challenges: the creation of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), also known as the Innovation Center within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In the past decade, the Econometrica Team has engaged with several CMMI programs designed to improve quality of care while reducing costs. We mark this milestone by reflecting on the past 10 years of work in this space and looking forward to future innovations.

Since its inception through CMMI, Econometrica has been influential in the success of the Hospital Innovation and Improvement Network initiative, formerly known as the Partnership for Patients initiative. This initiative seeks to improve healthcare safety and quality by reducing harm in hospitals and reducing readmissions through public–private partnerships. In the first iteration of the initiative, Econometrica served as the National Content Developer. In this role, Econometrica supported Hospital Engagement Networks in identifying, sharing, and celebrating innovations in care redesign that improved patient outcomes and reduced readmissions in key areas (e.g., adverse drug events, early elective deliveries). Econometrica served as the evaluator for the initiative and investigated the savings and improved patient outcomes for the first and second iteration of the model. We have supported the third iteration of the model through our work monitoring Patient and Family Engagement activities and providing evidence-based resources on how to expand the innovation.

Econometrica supported CMS on the Medicaid Incentives for Prevention of Chronic Diseases program by monitoring the program’s effectiveness and providing technical support to participants. The demonstration program tested the effectiveness of offering incentives to Medicaid beneficiaries who took part in prevention programs to address one of the following health behaviors or outcomes: curbing tobacco use, controlling or losing weight, lowering cholesterol or blood pressure, and avoiding the onset of diabetes or improving diabetes management. Econometrica supported the 10 States that received grants in implementing the program, created and put into action a learning system, collected performance data, and organized meetings for grantees.

Another of Econometrica’s early CMMI initiative-related evaluation projects was the Evaluation and Monitoring of the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Model 1 Initiative, which connected payments for services provided to beneficiaries during an episode of care. Econometrica evaluated changes in service utilization patterns, patient case mix, incidence of harm, quality of care, changes in key health outcomes of patients, and Medicare expenditures, and collected primary qualitative data by interviewing participants. We designed and administered a Patient Health and Experience Survey to certain beneficiaries to understand their care experience. We are currently building on this work under our Learning System for Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced Model contract, in which we are researching and recommending which quality measures to use to evaluate participant performance in the model, responding to help desk tickets, and assisting with a data feedback dashboard that monitors model performance.

Our other current work on CMMI initiatives includes engagements with the Million Hearts® and Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) models. Million Hearts® aims to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve outcomes for people at risk of heart attacks and stroke. Econometrica assists with the program implementation by validating beneficiary eligibility for the program, tracking provider use, and creating payment files for claims processing for each beneficiary.

Our work on CPC+ falls into two projects that support the model, which seeks to improve primary care through regional transformations of care delivery and multi-payer reform. Econometrica produces a series of data extracts consisting of claims and administrative data, which are sent to more than 300 individual practices participating in CPC+. We also aggregate data extracts that are provided to four regional aggregators participating in CPC+.

We look forward to continuing to support CMS’ dedication to innovative models that promote the delivery of high-quality healthcare at reduced cost. Happy birthday, CMMI!

Read more about CMMI here.

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Request for Qualifications: Notice of Funding Availability for (FY) 2018 and FY 2019

Request for Qualifications: Notice of Funding Availability for (FY) 2018 and FY 2019

Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Established in 1998, Econometrica, Inc., is an economic research and analysis firm located in Bethesda, MD. For more than 20 years, the firm has provided research, data analytics, and management services to local, state, and federal government clients, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and its grantees. Econometrica is requesting qualifications from firms and individuals interested in participating in our application in response to the HUD Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and FY 2019 Community Compass Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) (Opportunity No. FR-6200-N-06).

For more information from HUD regarding the FY 2018 and FY 2019 NOFA, the full announcement is accessible here: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/SPM/documents/FR-6200-N-06-CCTA_CBP.pdf.

HUD’s NOFA invites competitive applications for 2 funding years, FY 2018 and FY 2019. Econometrica intends to request funding from both funding years.

Consultant/Contractor Partner RFQ Submission Deadline.

Complete responses to this Request for Quotation (RFQ), following the instructions for submission provided below, are due by January 31, 2019 at 5 p.m. ET.

If HUD extends the deadline for applications in response to its NOFA, the deadline for this RFQ will be extended.

Qualifications and Experience Required

In accordance with 2 CFR Part 200, Sections 200.317 through 200.326, Econometrica is providing in this RFQ a description of the technical requirements of functions to be performed or performance required, including the range of acceptable characteristics or minimum acceptable standards. The Community Compass initiative is designed to support HUD’s local and state grantees to address a range of challenges or obstacles to full program implementation. The goal of the technical assistance and capacity-building initiatives is to equip HUD’s grantees with the knowledge, skills, tools, organizational capacity, and systems to implement HUD programs and policies successfully and in compliance with state and federal rules, regulations, and program requirements. Therefore, Econometrica is searching for qualified firms and individuals who can provide experience and skills relevant to HUD programs, policies, systems, and initiatives.

  • These programs, policies, systems, and initiatives include but are not limited to:
  • Affordable housing, mixed finance (including Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and Rental Assistance Demonstration), and homeownership.
  • Community and economic development and, in particular, disaster resilience.
  • Homelessness.
  • Public housing operations and programs, including public housing accounting, Moving to Work, and Section 3.
  • Choice Neighborhoods, Promise Zones and Opportunity Zones.
  • Disaster Recovery Grant Reporting (DRGR), Integrated Disbursement and Information System (IDIS), Line of Credit Control System (LOCCS), Section 3 Performance Evaluation and Registration System (SPEARS), Physical Needs Assessment (PNA), and Energy and Performance Information Center (EPIC).
  • Supportive housing and services.
  • Housing preservation, tenant participation, and capacity building.
  • Policy Development and Research (PD&R).
  • Fair housing, procurement, Davis-Bacon, energy and environment, and other cross-cutting requirements.

Evaluation Criteria

All submissions received will be reviewed against the following selection criteria:

  • Experience and Technical Qualifications: The extent to which each respondent demonstrates skills and abilities related to the description above and acceptable past experience with Econometrica, as applicable.
  • Rate Reasonableness: The extent to which rates are considered reasonable compared to the respondent’s experience and qualifications, market prices, and any rate limitations imposed by HUD. Before assigning a funded task, rates must be determined to be fair and reasonable. Respondents must be able to provide evidence of their past pattern of compensation. This evidence includes customary rates, including rates on nongovernment contracts or cooperative agreements.
  • Debarment/Suspension Check: Potential consultants found to be suspended or debarred from federal government business will not be solicited for or awarded task orders. This status is verified by searching the System for Award Management: https://www.sam.gov.
  • Small Business: Econometrica is committed to utilizing small disadvantaged businesses, minority-owned firms, American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms, veteran-owned firms, and women’s business enterprises whenever possible.

All consultants will be selected in compliance with the procurement procedures and standards codified in 2 CFR 200. Selection of consultants will be competitive, as required by 2 CFR § 200.320.

Qualified Applicants

Qualified individuals and organizations may be included in Econometrica’s application to the NOFA. Those included may also be asked to assist with contributing expert knowledge in areas of the application response.

Important Notes: As required by the NOFA (see Section III, Eligibility Information, Item C. Threshold Requirements, 3. Contractor/Consultant Restriction), any firm included as part of Econometrica’s application to this NOFA may not submit its own application to the NOFA. However, subcontractors and consultants may be included as such in more than one application. Qualified individuals and organizations included in Econometrica’s application will be notified in the event that Econometrica is awarded a cooperative agreement under this NOFA.

Due to the lapse in the FY 2019 Appropriations Bill funding HUD, the anticipated award date is uncertain at the time when Econometrica is issuing this RFQ; however the published NOFA projects successful applicants will be notified of an award in May 2019, with a projected 36-month (3 years) period of performance for the cooperative agreement award.

Being qualified and completing a signed quote/commitment or teaming agreement does not guarantee that the individual or firm will receive a funded assignment. Because HUD utilizes a demand-response system to provide technical assistance under cooperative agreements, Econometrica does not know at the time of application (and will not know at the time of award) the activities that it will be asked to carry out over the period of performance for a funded cooperative agreement. In the event of a fully funded award, Econometrica will issue task order assignments for services under the cooperative agreement and will consider those individuals and organizations included in Econometrica’s application to the NOFA as prequalified for these services. However, these prequalified individuals and organizations will not preclude additional individuals and organizations from qualifying during the new solicitation period.

When HUD requests services as part of the cooperative agreement, Econometrica will respond with staff members and consultants qualified to provide the services requested based on Econometrica’s determination concerning expertise, availability, rates, location (if a requirement), and other factors. Any specific work assigned to a consultant will be detailed in a task order assignment from Econometrica outlining specific actions required to meet the programmatic needs specified in the assignment received from HUD.

Instructions for Submission

  1. Review and respond to our online Skills Questionnaire, accessible here: https://econometrica.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eIPol7yM03qEwp7.

    Note:
    We encourage you to complete the online Skills Questionnaire in one sitting. It is estimated to require at most 30 minutes to complete. If you are not able to complete the questionnaire, the system will store your partial response as long as you:
    •  Return to the questionnaire on the same computer and on the same web browser.
    •  Have not cleared your browser cookies.
  2. Once you have completed the questionnaire, email your resume to Econometrica at: FY2019NOFA@EconometricaInc.com. Please use the subject line “Your Name – FY 2019 NOFA.”Note: The online Skills Questionnaire must be completed in its entirety, including the first page, which requests the following information:
  1. Full legal name.
  2. “Doing business as” name, if applicable.
  3. Customary hourly rate.*
  4. Address.
  5. Phone number.
  6. Email address.
  7. Three professional references (nonfamilial and not an Econometrica staff person).

Note on hourly rates: Due to HUD restrictions on approval of hourly consultant rates, Econometrica may need to request additional documentation and rate justification from a consultant to provide to HUD for approval.

Questions and Inquiries

Respondents are encouraged to submit questions about this RFQ in writing to: FY2019NOFA@EconometricaInc.com. Please use the subject line “Your Name – FY 2019 NOFA Questions.”

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Econometrica Launches New Course

Econometrica Launches New Course

Over the past 4 years, Econometrica supported the web-based transmission of CMS’ Grand Rounds series through a variety of technical assistance services.

Looking Ahead in Quality Improvement

Looking Ahead in Quality Improvement

Over the past 4 years, Econometrica supported the web-based transmission of CMS’ Grand Rounds series through a variety of technical assistance services.

Econometrica to present and exhibit at NAHRO’s 2018 National Conference & Exhibition

Econometrica to present and exhibit at NAHRO’s 2018 National Conference & Exhibition

Econometrica, BRicK Partners, LLC and the Winnebago County Housing Authority present about regional housing initiatives.

Bethesda, MD, October 2018

For the third consecutive year, Econometrica will be exhibiting at the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) National Conference & Exhibition from October 25 to 27 in Atlanta, GA. This year we are especially excited to be presenting as well as exhibiting at a booth! Our Senior Project Manager, Margaret McGilvray, along with Samantha DeKovan, Senior Project Manager at BRicK Partners, and Alan Zais, Executive Director of Winnebago and Boone county housing authorities, will present, “The Regional Housing Initiative: Creating Mobility, Opportunity and Affordable Housing Development” on October 25 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Here is a short description of the session from the NAHRO website:
“This session will highlight details around the formation of the Rockford Regional Housing Initiative (RRHI) and the general concept of a regional housing initiative and other regional approaches for public housing. The RRHI began in 2017 and is a coordinated effort to increase the development and preservation of affordable rental housing in opportunity areas through the pooling of housing choice vouchers and conversion to project based vouchers and other regional collaborations. The session will cover the formative aspects and lessons learned, but also reference some of the experiences in other RHI efforts around the country to include Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City, etc. HOTMA’s allowance for an additional 10% PBVs in low poverty neighborhoods enhances this tool.”

In addition to attending our session, be sure to stop by our booth! Staff members Paul Watkins and Margaret McGilvray will be exhibiting at Booth 320 and have plenty of free swag to give away! Check out our special giveaways and photo fun. Learn more about the conference at NAHRO’s site, and be sure to check out Econometrica’s housing and community development resources before you go! See you soon!

About Econometrica:
Founded in 1998, Econometrica is a research and management organization in Bethesda, MD, established to provide public- and private-sector clients with customized program support services. Econometrica works with multiple agencies to provide high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations. The company consistently receives exceptional scores from its clients and believes in three principles: technical capabilities, happy customers, and business growth.

The Regional Housing Initiative: Creating Mobility, Opportunity and Affordable Housing Development

October 25, 2018
3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Econometrica will be exhibiting at Booth 320.

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