Thursday, December 16, 2010

Innovations Across the Nation in Health Care Delivery Conference (with video links)

The tireless Disease Management Care Blog attended the Health Affairs sponsored Innovations in Health Care Delivery Conference in a snowy Washington DC today. It not only showcased the newly established Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), but offered up a series of presentations by health leaders from across the country on their local efforts at achieving the "Triple Aim" of better health, better care and lower costs. Not only did the DMCB learn a lot, but so did staff from CMMI who sat through the conference. If you've got the time, you can view a replay here.

As readers may recall, the CMMI was established by the Affordable Care Act (page 271). Its purpose is to:

"...test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures under the applicable titles while preserving or enhancing the quality of care furnished to individuals under such titles. In selecting such models, the Secretary shall give preference to models that also improve the coordination, quality, and efficiency of health care services."

"Applicable titles" means Medicare and Medicaid. Potential models for testing named in the ACA include patient centered medical home, direct provider risk-based contracting, geriatric care, use of information technology to reduce hospitalizations for persons at risk, incentives that reduce unnecessary imaging studies, medication therapy management services, patient decision support tools and others.

The Acting Director, Rick Gilfillan MD was the keynote speaker. Among the interesting points that caught the DMCB's attention:

CMS wants to be a constructive force and trustworthy value-added partner that is no longer just a claims payer.

Their three key words are "identify" innovation, then "validate" it and then "disseminate" it.

$10 billion in research grant funding over the next 10 years will be available to test the innovations. If any are successful, there is broad authority to disseminate them throughout Medicare or Medicaid. If you're going to apply for some of that money, proposals that "push" the grant toward the patient are more likely to be funded.

The Innovation Center staff have been touring the country in a series of listening sessions so that they can gather ideas on how to move forward. They want "ideas" and "suggestions." They've even started a web site so that you can keep up to date.

The DMCB will follow-up on some additional insights about the Conference and the speakers. The good news is that the Innovations Center seems genuinely interested in doing the right thing and the Conference was a good demonstration of that. Good intentions aside, however, it remains to be seen how well they will execute. More on that also.

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