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HHS Announces Innovation Plan Award Recipients

February 22, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced winners of State Innovation Model awards, doling out nearly $300 million to six states that will implement plans to transform the multi-payer payment and health care delivery system.  The six states are Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, and Vermont.

“As a former governor, I understand the real sense of urgency that states feel to improve the health of their populations while also reducing total health care costs, and it’s critical that the many elements of health care in each state -- including Medicaid, public health, and workforce training -- work together,” Sebelius said in a statement.  “We are encouraged by the progress states have made and look forward to continuing to work with them as they move forward.”

According to CMS, the six states will use the funds to test innovative multi-payer payment and service delivery models. Some of these models are already being planned at the state level. In Maine, $33,068,334 will be used to implement its strategy of aligning benefits from MaineCare (the state’s Medicaid program) with benefits from Medicare and commercial payers to achieve and sustain lower costs for the Medicaid, Medicare, and Children’s Health Insurance Program populations. Maine hopes to do this while maintaining access to care, improving care quality, and improving patient satisfaction.

In addition, Maine will support the formation of multi-payer Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that commit to providing greater value in return for performance-based payment for high quality care. The same kinds of ACOs will also be supported in Minnesota. In fact, both Maine and Minnesota both have expressed plans to secure information sharing, and address gaps in this area.  That’s not all. According to the CMS website, the money will enable Minnesota to expand its health information exchange (HIE) and health information technology infrastructure

“States have taken important steps in partnership with HHS, private payers, Medicaid, CHIP and their public health departments,” CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement. “The State Innovation Model awards are designed to bring additional flexibility to states on their path to improving their health care systems

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