Disclaimer: As health care is continually shifting priorities and evolving, much of the work outlined in this document has progressed beyond the dates defined within this 2020 Annual Report. The closing section briefly describes future directions, and a full report on activities initiated or continuing after November 2020 will be contained in the subsequent Annual Report.


A Message from Leadership

Over the past year, the U.S. health care system has faced challenges like never before. The COVID-19 pandemic has required providers in every health care setting to demonstrate resiliency and adapt to new working conditions, while ensuring quality and safety to protect our most vulnerable populations, including nursing home residents, dialysis patients and Medicare beneficiaries everywhere. Despite the difficulties presented this year, Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) within the Network of Quality Improvement & Innovation Contractors (NQIIC) worked diligently, at CMS direction, to uniquely reposition themselves to improve health care quality for Medicare beneficiaries across the country in the midst of the pandemic reality.

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NQIIC Program

Program Structure

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Network of Quality Improvement and Innovation Contractors (NQIIC) was established to support quality improvement efforts across care settings and programs, using data to drive change and add value to taxpayers.

NQIICs drive quality improvement initiatives and innovations at the local, state and regional levels, which contributes to overall national health quality goals.

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NQIIC Program


The extraordinary public health crisis of the global COVID-19 pandemic presented an unprecedented opportunity for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and its network of Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) to provide real-time support to health care providers and Medicare beneficiaries. The pandemic upended the health care system and affected every aspect of providers’ and beneficiaries’ lives and the provision of care.

CMS provided multifaceted support for quality improvement leadership in the pandemic response. This focused, data-driven support intersected with every NQIIC goal:

Goal 1: Improve behavioral health outcomes, focusing on decreasing opioid misuse Goal 2: Increase patient safety Goal 3: Promote chronic disease self-management (cardiac and vascular health, diabetes, end-stage renal disease) Goal 4: Increase quality of care transitions Goal 5: Improve nursing home qualityView All Achievements
NQIIC Program

A Look Ahead

The Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) faced the challenges of a global pandemic during the inaugural year of NQIIC with grit and perseverance, and strategically created agile systems to support providers and beneficiaries who needed it most. Transparent, data-driven strategy will drive outcomes in the next four years of projects designed to lead rapid, large-scale change in the health care system. As always, audacious projects begin with small steps - starting at the local level.  

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