« The Dual Agenda: February 4, 2015 Issue

Noteworthy News

Obama Administration Announces Value-Based Payment Goals for Medicare Program

On January 26, the Obama administration announced an ambitious goal to bring health system transformation to the Medicare program. The Washington Post reported on the administration’s efforts to tie doctor’s fees more closely to quality of care and health outcomes, and less closely to quantity. The goal is for 50 percent of Medicare payments to be handled using value-based payment measures by 2018. As is the case with the myriad health system transformation efforts currently underway across the country, this initiative holds great promise, but also risks for consumers. Community Catalyst’s Director for Strategic Policy, Michael Miller, discusses health system transformation in this blog post, discussing five essential ingredients to making these changes successful for consumers.

Enlisting Pharmacists to Improve Care for High-Need Patients

An innovative program in North Carolina to bring pharmacists into the effort to improve care for high-need patients was reported in Kaiser Health News. Through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, the federal government has invested $15 million in an experiment that gives pharmacists a new role in patient care. Created by the nonprofit Community Care of North Carolina, the project gives pharmacists access to medical information about high-need patients and reimburses them for extra work. Pharmacists use tactics such as packing multiple medications together, making check-in calls and reminding patients of the need for tests. If they see something going wrong, they can alert the patient’s doctor. The program is working with 120 pharmacies across North Carolina, mostly identified through local physician practices.

Primary Care Practices in Colorado Transitioning to New Integrated Data-Sharing System

Seven health plans in Colorado are collaborating on a multi-payer, data-sharing, online tool that aims to enhance the delivery of care for Colorado residents. The idea emerged from the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative, a national collaboration among public and private health plans to strengthen primary care. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation launched the CPC initiative in 2012. Health plans participating in the Colorado CPC (CO CPC) are working together to make it easier for primary care practices to transition to a more integrated, family care centered approach to serving patients. The CO CPC is developing a single source for aggregated patient-level online information that will help care providers save time accessing records, and spend more time with patients. Colorado Medicaid is hopeful that this agreement marks the beginning of a much longer process of changing how health care is delivered in Colorado. The private sector vendor contracted to develop the new data-sharing system, RiseHealth, posted a description of  the program on its website.


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