By: Jen Blackstock
Very recently, the Obama Administration announced some new initiatives with regard to the new healthcare law, in what could be one of the biggest and farthest-reaching benefits of the Affordable Care Act. The $10 billion, 10-year plan is being spearheaded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), which was created by the Affordable Care Act.
This new Center was born out of what many people on all sides of the political spectrum believe is a broken healthcare system. While the Affordable Care Act faced opposition and controversy, this initiative is gaining much support from politicians, patients, insurance companies, and corporations.
According to the CMMI website, “The ultimate goal of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (the Innovation Center) is to produce better experiences of care and better health outcomes for all Americans and at lower costs through improvements. In partnership with the healthcare industry, the business community, and of course, the patients and families who rely on the healthcare system day in and day out, the Innovation Center will ultimately scale new care and payment models that improve and sustain the Medicare and Medicaid/CHIP programs for our beneficiaries and ultimately the healthcare system at large.” Approximately 90 million Americans are currently on Medicare or Medicaid.
The Innovation Center will play several roles, including:
● Consulting with stakeholders across the healthcare sector, including hospitals, doctors, consumers, payers, states, employers, advocates, relevant federal agencies, and others, to obtain direct input on its operations and to build partnerships with those interested in its work
● Testing models that include establishing an “open innovation community” that serves as an information clearinghouse of best practices in healthcare innovation.
● Creating learning communities that help other providers rapidly implement these new care models.
● Testing “health home” and “medical home” concepts
The Center will begin by working with physician practices in eight states to help primary care doctors better coordinate the care their Medicare patients get throughout the medical system. The states are Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, and Minnesota; several already have private-sector or state-led programs underway. They will also target hundreds of federally funded health clinics, which provide primary care to millions of poor Americans on Medicaid. In 2011, the center will award $1 million grants to help states develop other programs to coordinate care and improve quality for poor seniors.
“This is an important step,” said Dr. Mark McClellan, who headed the Medicare and Medicaid programs under President George W. Bush. “Even if there are big disagreements about the role of government … hopefully, we’ll find some ways to find bipartisan agreement to do some of the things that improve care.”