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HHS Announces $840 Million Initiative for Value-Based Medical Reform

October 23, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the agency is making a $840 million investment into value-based coordinated care initiatives in an effort to further healthcare reform.

The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative will be a four-year investment by HHS to support, incentivize and inform 150,000 clinicians. The agency is planning on taking applications for those who have "demonstrated ability to achieve progress toward measurable goals, such as improving clinical outcomes, reducing unnecessary testing, achieving cost savings and avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations." The clinicians who take part will receive the technical assistance and peer-level support they need to deliver care in a patient-centric and efficient manner, HHS says.

The overall goal is to build on strategies of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to shift healthcare from quantity to quality-based reimbursement and coordinated health systems.  Part of this involves use of the electronic health record (EHR) to examine quality and efficiency. They also are looking for clinicians that have and are looking for ways to expand doctors' access to patient information, improve doctor-patient communications, and improve the coordination of patient care.

Specifically, as part of the initiative, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is granting two sets of cooperative agreements. The first will award funding to group practices, health care systems, and others that are working collaboratively to provide clinician practices with quality improvement expertise, EHR use, best practices, coaching and assistance. They'll also award cooperative agreements to support and alignment networks, including medical societies and public-private stakeholders, that support and generate evidence-based guidelines for clinical practices nationwide. Applicants can begin applying for these grants immediately and have until Jan. 6, 2015 to apply.

“This model will support and build partnerships with doctors and other clinicians across the country to provide better care to their patients. Clinicians want to spend time with their patients, coordinate care, and improve patient outcomes, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services wants to be a collaborative partner helping clinicians achieve those goals and spread best practices across the nation,” stated Patrick Conway, M.D., deputy administrator for innovation and quality and CMS chief medical officer.

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