QualityNet Mailer provides organizations with customizable discussion, notification, and distribution lists with easy-to-manage administration features to save you time and effort.
This CMS-sponsored solution was created for Application Development Organizations (ADOs) and contractors to communicate with large groups of program participants, stakeholders, and end-users.
QualityNet Mailer offers two types of lists:
- Notification List: A simple, one-way communication. This distribution list allows an administrator to send news, meeting invites, surveys, and other information to large groups of subscribers.
- Discussion List: Open, ongoing email conversations for organizations and groups. With this list, an administrator can review and release discussion comments or automate the process.
Lists can be set to either a public or private setting and are created by request. Public lists are offered for open subscriptions, while Private lists may be established to reach a more select group of participants and requires List Administrator approval to join.
All lists are available by subscription on the Sign Up for Email Updates page of QualityNet.
Please reach out to us on Slack: #ess-qualitynetmailer
Creating a List
A ticket will be created and assigned to the QualityNet Mailer team. Once the QualityNet Mailer team has all the necessary information, the list will be processed within a week. The QualityNet Mailer team will notify you once the list has been created.
Requesting Your QualityNet Mailer Role in HARP
A HARP account and a List Administrator Role are required to access QualityNet Mailer, and it is the first step towards establishing a list or managing an existing one.
- If you do not yet have a HARP, EIDM, or EUA account, you will need to register for a HARP ID. For instructions on the HARP registration process, refer to the HARP page. (hyperlink to: https://qnetconfluence.cms.gov/display/HS/HARP)
- Once the HARP account has been created, log into HARP and request a QualityNet Mailer role.
- Select User Roles from the top of the page, then select Request a Role.
- From the Select a Program screen, select QualityNet Workspace, then Next.
- From the Select an Organization screen, select QualityNet Mailer, then Next.
- Select the List Administrator role if you want to create and manage lists. If you're signing up to moderate an existing list, select the List Moderator user role.
We will review and approves role request and notify you via email when your request has been submitted and again when your role has been approved or denied.
Adding a New List Administrator to an Existing List
If you would like to add a List Admin to a pre-existing list, please have an existing List Administrator reach out to ServiceCenterSOS@cms.hhs.gov. Provide the person's name, email, and HARP ID, as well as the lists for them to be added. Please also indicate if this List Administrator has posting privileges and note that the new administrator must submit their QualityNet Mailer role request through HARP after the request.
Subscribing to a List
To subscribe to a Notification or Discussion list, select the Public or Private list tab on the Sign Up Page and select checkboxes for the lists you want to subscribe to and submit your request. You will then receive an email with instructions on how to confirm your subscription. Private lists require approval from the List Administrator before the confirmation email is sent.
What is the difference between Notification and Discussion lists?
- Notification lists are intended to a one-way communication and distribution list to send news, meeting invites, surveys, and other information to large groups of subscribers
- Discussion lists allow list members to comment and share information with their groups.
Should my membership be Public or Private?
- If there is no sensitive information being shared, you're in compliance with your organization's security policies, and you do not need to review and approve member subscription requests, select a public list.
- If the list needs more oversight, security, or the List Administrator just prefers to closely manage their subscribers, select a private list to approve all member subscription requests.
What is sender masking?
- We default our settings to mask the sender, which means we mask the email address of the list administrator who sends a message. This setting can be changed to display your email address, if preferred.
What is the difference between member and non-member settings?
- Members are subscribers to your list who either are active or suspended.
- Non-members are people who have posted to you list but are not subscribed. These posts could come from legitimate users who have posted to the list without subscribing or they may be spammers. To protect from spam, all posts from anyone who isn't subscribed are indicated as being from non-members.
What is the difference between Accept, Hold, and Reject replies?
- Accept replies means that all messages sent to the list are released without approval (used for discussion lists).
- Hold replies mean that all replies are held for approval before being sent out to all list members(used for discussion lists).
- Reject replies means that all replies are automatically rejected (used for notification lists).
What is a bounced email?
A bounced email, or bounce, is any email message returned to the sender's email after being unrecognized and rejected by the recipient's email server.
If you are a QualityNet Mailer List Admin, you will receive email notifications when an email address is unrecognized and a message has bounced.
Why do bounces occur in QualityNet Mailer?
Bounces happen in all email-based systems. The occur for various reasons and are classified as either:
- Soft Bounces – happen when the email is too large, the recipient's mailbox is full, or their account is temporarily suspended.
- Hard Bounces – happen when the recipient's email address is not valid, contains a typo, or the domain doesn't exist.
What are bounce scores in QualityNet Mailer?
Every member has a bounce score, which starts at zero, and increases by 0.5 for soft bounces and 1 for hard bounces. A member's bounce score will only increase once per day, so no matter the number of soft or hard bounces, their score will only increase by 0.5 or 1 point each day. If the system cannot determine whether it's a soft or hard bounce, it will be counted as hard.
What are bounce thresholds in QualityNet Mailer?
Each list has a threshold for bounces, limiting the number of bounces throughout a designated number of days a member can trigger before their account is disabled.
The default threshold is a bounce score of 5 over the course of 7 days.
Can I change the bounce threshold for my lists?
Yes, the bounce threshold is unique to each specific list, and the List Administrator can request an increase or decrease to best accommodate their publishing frequency. Please contact ServiceCenterSOS@cms.hhs.gov to request any changes.
What happens when a subscriber's bounce score exceeds the bounce threshold?
After a subscriber's bounce score has crossed the bounce threshold, their subscription will be disabled but they remain members of the list. If an email address is bouncing enough for the account to become disabled, it is likely they will not be receiving other notifications from QualityNet Mailer, either. Once disabled, there is a period of time the system will attempt to send warnings (default of once a week for 3 weeks = 21 days total). After this period of time the user will be removed from the list entirely.
List Administrators will receive notifications and can notify members of bounces and disabled accounts. If a subscriber has any concerns that they might be suspended, they should contact their List Administrator, or if they cannot find the List Administrator's contact information, they should contact Service Center SOS at ServiceCenterSOS@cms.hhs.gov.
Once confirmed as suspended, a subscriber can unsubscribe and resubscribe to the list to rejoin. Still, it's essential that they follow the whitelisting protocol first and ensure they have addressed any issues from their email server that may be causing the bounces.
What steps can I perform to try and eliminate bounces from happening in the first place?
There are three steps a subscriber can do to help eliminate bounces. Before you begin these steps, always first verify whether the QualityNet Mailer notification is in your spam or junk folder.
Step 1: Subscriber whitelists the QualityNet Mailer domain
The first step towards eliminating unnecessary bounces is to ensure all subscribers have whitelisted the QualityNet Mailer domain: mailer.qualitynet.org. This can be done by adding the domain name to the email provider's contacts/address book/safe senders list. Depending on the email provider, there are different steps, but it generally requires adding the domain and marking it either as a safe sender or not as spam. Please check with your email service provider for additional details.
Step 2: Verify whitelisting at the email server level
The second step is for the subscriber to verify with their IT Department that mailer.qualitynet.org is whitelisted by their email server.
Step 3: Verify the domain is not blacklisted
The final step is for the subscriber to verify with their IT Department that the mailer.qualitynet.org is not blacklisted by their email server.
What if I verify each of the Bounce verification steps, and the subscriber is still not receiving notifications?
If a subscriber has confirmed each of the three (3) steps identified for whitelisting and verification and is still encountering bounced notification issues, please contact Service Center SOS by phone at 1-866-288-8914, Slack at #help-service-center-sos, or by email at ServiceCenterSOS@cms.hhs.gov.
As a List Administrator, what actions should I consider taking if I receive a bounce notification for one of my subscribers?
The List Administrator should notify the subscriber and confirm they have followed the three steps described above. If the domain is whitelisted and not blacklisted, please contact Service Center SOS by phone at 1-866-288-8914, Slack at #help-service-center-sos, or by email at ServiceCenterSOS@cms.hhs.gov for more assistance.
User Guides and Training Materials
- Recording Demo 09212020.mp4
- ESS QNP Team_QualityNet Mailer_Demo_21Sept2020.pptx
- Lyris Decom memo 13Nov2020.docx
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