37 Agencies Join New Initiative to Connect Services with Niagara Falls Community

 Vicki Landes, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center’s Vice President for Community Care Coordination and Services

 “Finding so much new information about dental services really made my day!” said a Niagara Falls Memorial Health Home client as she displayed information pamphlets to a visitor with a joyful smile.

That was just one of hundreds of new connections made at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center’s first “Connect 4 U…When Community Becomes Unity” event held May 16, 2018 in the hospital’s auditorium.

The “Free Community Education Day” was the product of NFMMC’s two-year participation with Millennium Collaborative Care in the New York State Department of Health’s Medicaid Accelerated eXchange (MAX) Series Program. (See “Taking Improvement to the MAX” below…)

The event brought together hospital staff, community members and representatives from 37 agencies to meet, greet – and most importantly – increase awareness of the wide spectrum of services available well beyond hospital walls. (For list of agencies please click on following: 37 Agencies Part of NFMMC ‘Connect 4 U’ Community Effort

“We joined the MAX Series program about a year ago with the objective of reducing in patient admissions and emergency room department utilization,” explained Vicki Landes, Memorial’s Vice President for Community Care Coordination and Services.

“We went through a series of three different meetings with New York State Department of Health through Millennium Collaborative Care and came up with three projects focused on linking people to services outside in the community.”

To move from project concept to service reality, Vicki described a pivotal launch meeting in June 2017 convened by  Memorial Chief Operating Officer Sheila K. Kee where the hospital invited area agencies to join them in a new collaboration called ‘Coalition of the Willing’.

Following an outstanding response that saw groups break out into idea sessions facilitated by Millennium team members; Sheila, Vicki and the NFMMC team decided to rebrand the effort as ‘Connect 4 U’ and the hospital’s first “Free Community Education Day” was born.

“‘Community’ is the key word,” said Vicki.

“For example, we purposely brought this event into the hospital because we wanted hospital staff as well as people receiving services through the hospital to have an opportunity to see the many services that are available in the community to help them and ultimately, keep them out of the hospital.

“We’re trying to help each other understand what everybody offers, and that you don’t have to be in it by yourself,” Vicki continued. “We want everyone to see that we can work as a team with the patient in the middle.”

“The community benefits because there are services available to them and they now have the opportunity to use those resources,” Vicki concluded. “It helps them stay in their houses; stay in the community and feel whole again.”


To view photos of NFMMC’s May 16 ‘Connect 4 U’ Free Community Education Day, please click on the following:

 NFMMC CONNECT 4 U – 5-16-18

Taking Improvement to the MAX

Tammy Fox, Director of Project Management and Saralin Tiedeman, MS, OTR/L, Post-Acute Project Manager serve as Millennium’s MAX Program facilitators.

As we enter DSRIP Year 4, Millennium Collaborative Care has continued to focus on population health specific metrics and programs that will enable us to achieve our New York State targets.

A key example of this focus are individual New York State Department of Healths Medicaid Accelerated eXchange (MAX) Series Programs currently underway at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC), and Erie County Medical Center (ECMC).

The use of the MAX methodology is a tool that is available for providers, to develop sustainable programs, achieve goals, and make a true impact in our communities.

As part of the Delivery Service Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP), the New York State Department of Health launched the Medicaid Accelerated eXchange (MAX) Series Program in 2017.

“The MAX Series is a rapid cycle continuous improvement (RCCI) methodology, which aims to “do something different”, explained Saralin Tiedeman, MS, OTR/L, Post-Acute Project Manager, who also deploys as a trained MAX Facilitator.

(Saralin and Tammy Fox, Director of Project Management completed a Medicaid Accelerated eXchange (MAX) Series “Train-the-Trainer” (TTT) program in order to deploy as Facilitators in support of Millennium partner efforts to improve performance measures. Sponsored by the New York State Department of Health, the intensive “Train-the-Trainer” program was run alongside the current MAX Series initiative, consisting of multiple full-day sessions working alongside Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center’s (NFMMC) Action Team and facilitation teams from consultant KPMG.)

“MAX brings together community care providers from across the healthcare continuum into action teams to improve healthcare and the provision of interdisciplinary services,” Saralin continued. “Through highly structured workshops and action periods, change is implemented and results are driven at the local level.”

The MAX Series program objectives are as follows:

  • Decrease high utilizer 30-day readmissions and/or hospital utilization
  • Improve provider quality of life
  • Increase integration across the care delivery system
  • Develop and build rapid cycle continuous improvement capability

The MAX series methodology uses data to measure and drive performance. Using PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) cycles and periodic workshops, action teams brainstorm drivers of utilization, discuss potential improvement ideas, prioritize ideas based on patient need, and create action plans to systematically improve care and facilitate multidisciplinary integration.

This methodology does not need to be used solely for high utilizer specific programs. The concepts and methods of PDSA and MAX can be adapted and applied to any quality improvement program.



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