HHS awards $2M to Utah for innovative plan to improve health care quality, accessibility, affordability 

SALT LAKE CITY  Utah will receive up to $2,000,000 to design health care payment and service delivery models that will improve health care quality and lower costs, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell announced Tuesday.

Nationwide, 28 states, three territories and the District of Columbia will receive over $665 million in Affordable Care Act funding to design and test health care payment and service delivery models that will improve health care quality and lower costs.  Together with awards released in early 2013, over half of states (34 states and three territories and the District of Columbia), representing nearly two thirds of the population are participating in comprehensive state-based innovation in health system transformation.

“We are committed to partnering with Utah to advance the goals we all share: better care, smarter spending, and, ultimately, healthier people,” Burwell said. “We’re seeing states do some very innovative things when it comes to improving the ways we deliver care, pay providers, and distribute information. These funds will support states in integrating and coordinating the many elements of health care – including Medicaid, Medicare, public health, and private health care delivery systems – to the benefit of patients, businesses, and taxpayers alike.”

State Innovation Model funds will support states in planning or implementing a customized, fully developed proposal capable of creating statewide health transformation.  Examples initiatives include:

  • Improving primary care through patient centered medical homes, building upon current Accountable Care Organization models or integrating primary care and behavioral health services.
  • Providing technical assistance and data to health care providers and payers that are working to advance models of integrated, team-based care, or transition to value-based payment models.
  • Creating unified quality measure score cards that health care payers and providers can use to align quality improvement and value based payment methodologies.
  • Expanding the adoption of health information technology to improve patient care.
  • Fostering partnerships between public, behavioral, and primary health care providers.
  • Strengthening the health care workforce through educational programs, inter-professional training, primary care residencies and community health worker training.

The awards include both states that are designing plans and strategies for statewide innovation and states that are taking the next step from designing to testing and implementing comprehensive statewide health transformation plans.

Nearly $43 million in State Innovation Model Design Awards will support 17 states, including Utah, three territories, and the District of Columbia to create and refine proposals for comprehensive health care transformation.

Over $622 million in State Innovation Model Test Awards will support 11 states – Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Washington – in implementing their State Health Care Innovation Plans.  These states join six previous round-one Model Test awardees: Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, and Vermont.

States will engage a broad group of stakeholders including health care providers and systems, long-term service and support providers, commercial payers, state hospital and medical associations, tribal communities and consumer advocacy organizations.  Transformation efforts supported by this initiative must improve health, improve care and lower costs for Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program beneficiaries. In addition, CMS will identify best practices among state-led transformations that are potentially scalable to all states.

The State Innovation Models initiative is one part of an overall effort to help lower costs and improve care through the Affordable Care Act.  Initiatives like Accountable Care Organizations, the Partnership for Patients and others have helped reduce hospital readmissions in Medicare by nearly 8 percent between 2007 and 2013 – translating into 150,000 fewer readmissions – and quality improvements have resulted in saving 50,000 lives and $12 billion in health spending from 2010 to 2013, according to preliminary estimates.

Submitted by HHS Office of Public Affair

Resources

  • Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center website

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