Revenue Cycle

CMS innovation advisors aim to improve quality of care

Patient Access Weekly Advisor, February 1, 2012

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has tapped 73 healthcare professionals for its innovation advisors program. Funded with $6 million from the healthcare reform act, the program is designed to help drive improvements to patient care and help reduce healthcare costs. A second group of 120 advisors will be selected in June 2012.

The program, which is managed by the CMS Innovation Center, includes six months of orientation as well as in-person national and regional meetings, virtual training sessions, and seminars and presentations by healthcare experts. Each advisor will receive a stipend of about $20,000 to help cover the cost of transportation, lodging, and other expenses.

This first group of advisors includes clinicians, allied health professionals, health administrators, physicians and nurses from 27 states. Each one is required to develop a systems improvement project that will be scalable to other areas.

Julie Lewis, vice president of health policy and government relations for Amedisys, will look at care management for high risk elderly patients. Tina Schwien, quality improvement consultant at Qualis Health in Seattle, is developing a project to engage patients and their families to help reduce hospital acquired infections.

Lewis, who works out of Washington, D.C., says her project is an offshoot of some work she did with Jeffrey Brenner while she was at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Brenner, a New Jersey physician, formed the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers to provide care management for vulnerable populations in the city. Lewis plans to take that effort a few steps further to test if care management for high risk populations can be sustained and replicated across a larger population.

The project will be based in Louisiana where Amedisys, a home health and hospice company, is based. Plans call for a hospital-physician partnership that initially will treat 50 to 100 Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and indigent patients.

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