The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced Friday that it has awarded a $20.75 million Health Care Innovation Challenge grant to a collaborative partnership that includes VHA Inc., the national health care network; TransforMED, a not-for-profit subsidiary of the American Academy of Family Physicians; and, Phytel, Inc., a technology company that leads the field in automated, provider-led population health improvement solutions. The grant will fund a three-year national project involving health care systems, hospitals, and provider practices throughout 16 communities. The goal of the project is to expand the concept of the Patient-Centered Medical Home to the Patient-Centered Medical Neighborhood and connect acute-care hospitals with primary care, specialty and subspecialty practices to drive better quality and superior patient experience at a more affordable cost.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced late last year that it would provide up to $1 billion in grants to implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), particularly those with the highest health care needs. CMMI is administering these grants on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). VHA, TransforMED and Phytel project that their combined work across the 16 communities will drive better quality and a superior patient experience at a more affordable cost, potentially saving Medicare as much as $53 million over a three-year period.
The project, which will be led by TransforMED, will utilize Phytel's population health management solutions to automate care gap identification, patient outreach, care management, patient engagement, and performance evaluation. By involving specialists in the care teams that use these communication and coordination tools, applying TransforMED's expertise in building Patient-Centered Medical Homes, and adding VHA's knowledge of quality management and ambulatory care strategies for hospitals, the joint initiative will boost clinical integration to a new level of effectiveness.
According to Peggy Naas, MD, MBA, VHA vice president for physician strategies, this collaborative approach to improving community health represents an important step in eliminating the historically siloed approach to health care delivery. “Our project has the potential to be ground-breaking in a number of ways, not the least of which is moving the entire industry forward on population health management. Shifting the focus of health care to wellness, versus treating people once they present with illness or disease, can prove to be a powerful catalyst for reaching the triple aim of health care improvement outlined by CMS.”
TransforMED CEO Terry McGeeney, MD, MBA, who will serve as the project's executive sponsor, said the collaboration is expected to achieve significant improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of patient care, while driving improved patient outcomes. “Through this project, we will take a unique approach of linking developing medical home techniques and patient population management metrics across varied communities that in aggregate represent a strategic cross-section of the nation,” Dr. McGeeney explained. “We expect that our results from this project will be replicable in any community.”
Steve Schelhammer, CEO of Phytel, commented, "Phytel, VHA, and TransforMED will work together and in partnership with the 16 health care provider organizations across the country to advance care delivery approaches consistent with the patient-centered medical home model designed to deliver high quality care at a lower cost. At the same time, we expect that our automation tools will enable the participating organizations to scale up quickly for population health management so that all their patients receive appropriate care and are fully engaged in disease and illness prevention.”
Health care organizations participating in the project include:
- Allegiance Health, Jackson, Mich.
- Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital, O’Neill, Neb.
- Charleston Area Medical Center, Charleston, W.Va.
- Columbus Regional, Columbus, Ind.
- Elmhurst Clinic, Elmhurst, Ill.
- Gundersen Lutheran, La Crosse, Wis.
- Huntsville Hospital, Huntsville, Ala.
- INTEGRIS Health, Oklahoma City, Okla.
- Marquette General Health, Marquette, Mich.
- Northeast Georgia Health System, Gainesville, Ga.
- North Mississippi Health Services, Tupelo, Miss.
- North Shore Physicians Group, Salem, Mass.
- Orlando Health, Orlando, Fla.
- Owensboro Medical Health System, Owensboro, Ky.
- Via Christi Health, Wichita, Kan.
- Western Connecticut Health Network, Danbury, Conn.
Knowledge gained through the project will be shared throughout VHA’s extensive network, with best practices captured via VHA Leading Practice Blueprints™. These will be made available to all project participants through educational programs and the VHA IMPERATIV™ Portal.
Said Byron Jobe, VHA executive vice president, service and delivery, “The Health Care Innovation Challenge represents another important and historic move by CMS to achieve the critical health care ‘triple aim’ –better health, better health care, and lower costs. We believe that our collaboration with TransforMED and Phytel will deliver exciting and impressive results, which we will look forward to sharing as we proceed.”
About TransforMED – The Leawood, Kan.-based TransforMED LLC is a non-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Established in 2005, TransforMED provides ongoing consultation and support to physicians looking to transform their practices to a new model of care that is based on the concept of a patient-centered medical home. TransforMED is an active member of primary care communities and recognizes and supports the unique value that primary care offers to patients and the health care system. TransforMED shares and supports the idealism and altruism of primary care physicians and the strong commitment to their communities and patients through continuing patient relationships and independent decision making. TransforMED offers practices both products and services, including consultation and advice on implementing the patient centered medical home model. To learn more about TransforMED, visit www.transformed.com.
About Phytel – The premier company empowering physician-led population health improvement, Phytel provides physicians with proven technology to deliver timely, coordinated care to their patients. Phytel's state-of-the-art registry, which now encompasses more than 20 million patients nationwide, uses evidence-based chronic and preventive care protocols to identify and notify patients due for service, while tracking compliance and measuring quality and financial results. For more information, please visit www.phytel.com. Follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook.