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HHS Awards $685M in Funding for Healthcare Transformation Initiatives

September 30, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Continuing its investment in The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $685 million to 39 national and regional healthcare networks and supporting organizations to help give clinicians the necessary tools and support to improve care, increase patients’ access to information, and reduce costs.  

The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative is one of the largest federal investments designed to support doctors and other clinicians in all 50 states through collaborative and peer-based learning networks. HHS Secretary Burwell released the awards in conjunction with a roundtable discussion with members of Congress and healthcare leaders on the transformation taking place across the U.S. to move the nation’s healthcare system to one that rewards value over volume. 

The awards will support 29 medical group practices, regional healthcare systems, and regional extension centers in offering peer-to-peer support to primary and specialty physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical pharmacists, and their practices. These efforts include:

  • Helping providers give patients better tools for communication through emails and other information technology applications
  • Providing dedicated coaches to help practices better manage chronic disease and offer preventive care
  • Offering real-time notification alerts for clinicians caring for high-risk patients
  • Improving screening and treatment of mental health and substance abuse across multiple care settings and increasing patient medication management education
  • Centralizing data reporting and providing technical assistance with quality improvement targets and mid-course corrections
  • Promoting patient, provider and community engagement through advisory boards and community engagement in learning collaboratives.

In addition, 10 national organizations and healthcare professional associations will receive up to $27 million to align clinical practice guidelines across multiple medical specialties and disseminate those findings through well-established communications channels;  offer continuing medical education credit to clinicians to support transformation efforts and ensure that coordinated education programs are offered to participating clinicians; share best practices and provide technical assistance and coaching to their members that may be struggling with how to participate in emerging alternative payment models; and provide educational materials and access to registry data information, including training on how to use the data to improve care.

Some examples include: the American College of Emergency Physicians and American College of Radiology will engage clinicians, patients and families in reducing unnecessary testing; the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium will assess, educate and provide on­ site peer-supported education and training to more than 5,500 rural providers who may wish to transition into accountable care organizations (ACOs); and the American Board of Family Medicine will work with more than 25,000 family physicians serving 50 million or more patients to help clinicians and patients navigate the changing healthcare system.

“Supporting doctors and other healthcare professionals change the way they work is critical to improving quality and spending our healthcare dollars more wisely,” Secretary Burwell said in a statement. “These awards will give patients more of the information they need to make informed decisions about their care and give clinicians access to information and support to improve care coordination and quality outcomes.”

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