Author Archives: HITC Editor


2014 Accountable Care & Health IT Strategies Summit 
September 18-19, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago Keynotes:

ENTER Health Affairs
To Receive 30% Discount on all Rates
Niall Brennan, Acting Director, Offices of Enterprise Management, CMS
Kathy Lewis, VP, Clinical Network Services, Surescripts
Dan Johnston, U.S. Army Medical Director Lieutenant Colonel Doctor
Jeff Arnold, CEO, Sharecare

Who Will Attend: 300+ Business, Clinical and IT leaders from across the country who are mobilizing their organizations to participate in ACOs and/or be effective partners for payers in value based purchasing initiatives.

2014 Focus Topics: The 2-day program incorporates opening keynotes, keynote panels, collaborative networking round tables as well as keynotes and breakouts assigned to 3 distinct executive forums as below:

(i)  Data Analytics and Population Health Management Forum
(ii) Consumer Engagement, mHealth and Connected Medical Home Forum
(iii) Healthcare Performance and Risk Management Forum

Accommodations: Group Rate ($209) available at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago, IL, Book Online Here >>

About Health Affairs


Health Affairs is the leading peer-reviewed journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published monthly by Project HOPE, the journal is available in print, online, on mobile and on iPad.

Additional and late-breaking content is found at in Web First papers, Health Affairs Blog, Health Policy Briefs, Videos and Podcasts, and more.
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Project Directors and leading HIT Strategists will lead roundtable discussions around specific technology and project initiatives that are at the leading edge of the Accountable Care and Health IT innovation and transformation process.

Where: Hyatt Regency, McCormick Place, Chicago  April 18-19 2014
Chicago, IL  April 18-19 2014 
View Agenda    |   View Speaker Information  |   Hotel Rate $209 Book Online Today  |  Register to Attend

Roundtable 01. 
Danielle Sims, State Project Officer within the Office of Programs and Engagement, Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, (ONC).

Regional Extension Centers: Trusted Advisors in the Field
Regional Extension Centers (RECs) have close working relationships with providers participating in ACOs, are aware of health IT challenges, and have structured service offerings around those challenges. As captured by ONC’s FACA ACO workgroup, major challenges ACOs face includes: patient engagement, quality measure abstraction, aggregation, and reporting, vendor/EHR product, data exchange among providers, IT strategy, scaling notification services, and population health management. Health IT plays a significant role in overcoming these challenges; RECs have been providing health IT and practice transformation services to support providers who face these barriers.

Roundtable 02. 
David Overton, Executive Director of Clinical Integration, St. Joseph’s Regional Health Center

St Joseph Health Partners:  Surviving and Thriving in Payment Reform
St Joseph Health Partners (SJHP) is a Clinically Integrated Network formed under FTC guidance to lead the St Joseph Health System into the future of pay for performance and value based purchasing.  SJHP is focused on 4 key strategic imperatives as it relates to payment reform; Medicare ACO, Commercial payer partnerships, Patient Centered Medical Home, and Care Coordination.  SJHP is in year 1 of the 3 year Medicare Shared Savings Program and is focusing on reducing readmissions and inappropriate utilization of healthcare services through care coordination.  SJHP has partnered with a national commercial payer to manage the health of the St Joseph Employee Health Plan but also to co-brand a health insurance product that drives steerage to the health system and creates incentives to steer patients to the lowest cost and appropriate healthcare services through the medical home.

Roundtable 03.
Sandy L. Chung, MD, CMIO, Health Connect ACO

Advancing Consumer Engagement in a Physician Lead ACO

Roundtable 04.
John Clark, MD, JD, CMO, IU Health ACO

Transition from Fee-for-Service to Value-Based Payments
Medical groups entering the world of Population Health Management face several challenges negotiating the transition from Fee for Service to Value-Based payments with their physicians.   Indiana University Health Physicians (IUHP) has been putting a significant portion of its primary care physicians’ salaries at risk for quality, patient satisfaction, and access to care for more than 15 years.   Over the last three years the advent of Accountable Care / Shared Savings and full-risk contracting has challenged the group to provide incentives for its physicians aligned with quality of care and service to the whole population of patients it serves while simultaneously encouraging the transformation of office-based work flow to effectively manage value-based contracts.     IUHP has met these challenges with both contractual incentive programs focused on technical quality of care, patient satisfaction, and patient access to care for which the physicians feel a reasonable degree of control as well as team and region-based shared savings incentives tied directly to overall cost of care for risk populations.   Importantly, IUHP has negotiated for fixed up front “transactional” payments for physicians participating in processes designed to maintain quality of care while improving care coordination for the sickest of patients.   Using these dual mechanisms IUHP ensures that quality of care and patient satisfaction stay at the forefront of care delivery processes while allowing those processes to evolve to meet the needs of population health management.

Roundtable 05.
Linda Oliver, Director of ACO Implementation, Atrius Health

Identifying At Risk Populations and Operationalizing Data for Care Interventions

Roundtable 06.
Craig Behm, Executive Director, MedChi Network Services

Exploring the Network Services Model for Primary Care Transformation in Maryland
MedChi Network Services (MNS) is a management services organization founded by MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society. The mission to support the private practice of medicine was originally carried out through practice support such as revenue cycle management, coding reviews, EHR optimization, and other related services. When medical society leadership reviewed the final ACO regulations – including physician-leadership, no downside risk, and an advance payment program – they encouraged MNS to expand their service offerings and organize physician groups. Working in the rural parts of the state, MNS was able to form 3 MSSP ACOs consisting entirely of independent, primary care physicians. The challenges faced during the last two years of integrating over 30 different practices with a dozen EHR systems have been significant, but they also offered numerous opportunities to add value at the point of care. MNS is transforming primary care physicians into population health managers.



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A new Accountable Care Organization between UnityPoint Health Partners and UnitedHealthcare aims to move the Iowa Health System in the direction of rewarding quality and value and away from one based on volume of care. The “Triple Aim” objective: increase patient satisfaction, improve the health of the population and reduce the cost of health care.

“UnitedHealthcare continues to work with care providers statewide to help enhance health services and improve coordination of care for patients,” said Steve Walli, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Heartland States.

“We believe our collaboration with UnityPoint Health Partners will deliver enhanced quality, better outcomes and greater efficiency for our health plan customers in these communities.”

Currently annual physician and hospital reimbursements totaling more than $31 billion are tied to accountable care programs centers of excellence and performance-based programs, by 2018 this figure is projected to be $65 Billion.

Learn more about this new ACO collaboration, which includes enhanced care coordination and follow-up, beginning Oct. 12014

Via Accountable Care Answers

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A report which studies the global healthcare analytics market over the forecast period 2014 to 2019 has stipulated that the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 25%. Increased healthcare IT adoption, global centralized healthcare mandates, emerging fields of predictive, prescriptive analytics and venture capital investments are all major factors in driving the future market growth upwards. Included in the in depth market analysis, which spans the regions, North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Rest of the World (RoW) are sections covering factors influencing market, drivers, restraints, opportunities and challenges as well as burning issues, winning strategy and regulatory affairs.
Companies mentioned throughout the report are Cerner Corporation, IBM Corporation, Information Builders, Inc., Lexisnexis Risk Solutions, Mckesson Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Rapid Insight, Inc., Truven Healthanalytics, Inc., Vantage Point Healthcare Information Systems, Inc., Verisk Analytics, Inc.

You can purchase and download the full report here


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Two new accreditation programs for accountable care organizations and physician practice management systems have been launched by The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission, (EHNAC). The focus, accountable care organizations, payers and the vendors that serve them.

The program which will have it’s formal launch later this year will complete the final test accreditation with two organizations, Capital Clinical Integrated Network, a Medicaid ACO in Washington, D.C., and vendor HEALTHEC which offers a platform with a suite of software and services to support ACOs. EHNAC has over the last 20 years offered a range of accreditation programs, and executive director of industry-supported EHNAC Lee Barrett says that the program “gives a third-party stamp of approval to those ACO stakeholders who have demonstrated the secure management of protected health information and can provide assurances to their overall corporate integrity and trust between entities,”

Learn more about the program criteria, functionality, resource management and compliance including readiness to support ICD-10 in 2015 Continue reading 

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The third largest U.S. health insurer Aetna, and University Hospitals CLEVELAND, Ohio have set up an accountable care organization collaboration (ACO). The ACO launched July 1, 2014 it is University Hospitals ‘s sixth ACO in the state and Aetna’s fifth.

“We have a set of technologies that we bring to the table that allow us to partner with healthcare systems to do just that,” said Nitin Bhargava, president of Aetna’s Ohio operations. “The goal ultimately becomes how do we create healthier communities, one community at a time?”

Dr. Eric Bieber, president of UH’s Accountable Care Organization states that it is University Hospitals intention to get people thinking about care delivery in a new and different manner with the emphasis on using data to drive that understanding. 

“The landscape is really changing,” said Bieber. “We’re starting to see real traction, where real differences are being made in how people are getting care.”

The University Hospitals ACOs have been able to achieve certain goals based around a focus on a few key areas which also includes the target for the Aetna collaboration.  These goals include:

» Increase the percentage of Aetna members who receive recommended preventive care and cancer screenings.
» Improve the management of patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart failure.
» Reduce avoidable hospital re-admissions and costly ER visits by improving primary care access hours and care coordination.

Learn more about the collaboration, education and how UH and Aetna plan on reducing costs and helping people navigate a complex healthcare system Continue Reading



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Cigna Corp. and Presence Health: Collaborations between insurers and health systems aimed at coordinating patient care and lowering costs continue to gain momentum with Connecticut-based Cigna Corp. and Presence Health starting a commercial accountable care organization. The program started on July 1st and it’s key aim as with all ACOs, is getting all the providers involved in a patient’s medical care on the same page, thus reducing unnecessary services and achieving better health outcomes.

“Our goal is to empower those we serve to achieve their best health, and this initiative with Cigna is another opportunity to further that goal,” said Dr. David DiLoreto, Presence’s chief clinical, quality and innovation officer, in a statement.

Funding provided by Aetna will assist University Hospitals expansion of staff, enabling the Health System to assign care coordinators with the intention of supporting primary care offices staying a breast of patient care, follow up, appointments and hospital discharges. 

“We want people thinking about care delivery in a different manner and we think it’s really important to use data to drive that,” said Dr. Eric Bieber, president of UH’s Accountable Care Organization.

Learn more about the new landscape, achieved goals and how this is now impacting care


Via Chicagobusiness

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Mark McClellan, Director, Health Care Innovation and Value Initiative, Brookings Institute, recently discussed with AAFP News the positive approach to the Accountable Care Organization, the impact of the new payment model, how this is directly involving physicians in accountability and the shift in attitudes towards cost control.

‘I think accountable care will continue to grow, including payments that are tied more directly to results and that give clinicians more flexibility in how they deliver care. Many ACOs are integrated organizations like Health Care Partners, Monarch HealthCare and the University of Michigan’.

Learn more about the developments and success achieved nationwide as ACOs continue to collaborate on population health management tools, information technology tools and how the patients can share in the savings, too!

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In support of states’ efforts to accelerate new payment and service delivery reforms, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have launched the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP) with the aim of improving health and healthcare for Medicaid beneficiaries.

The IAP will develop technical resources to support innovation through key functions:
»  Identify and advance new models
»  Data Analytics
»  Improved quality measurement
»  State-to-State learning, rapid-cycle improvement and federal evaluation

This new technical assistance program is set to jumpstart innovation by strengthening federal tools and resources, supporting states in advancing Medicaid-specific delivery system reform.
Learn more about the programs’ opportunities and strategic partnerships  here 
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MeHI The Massachusetts eHealth Institute a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech), commissioned a study to provide comprehensive information on use, needs and attitudes towards health IT among Massachusetts healthcare providers and consumers, and to identify key drivers for eHealth adoption. Aspects of the survey show that although Massachusetts is well underway in making healthcare data digital, more needs to be done to ensure all providers fully implement interoperable EHR systems that connect to the Mass HIway.

Some of the study findings for instance indicate that whilst 96 percent of primary care providers have adopted EHR technology and 30 percent are transmitting patient information electronically, only 5 percent of Behavioral Health and LTPAC organizations have adopted EHRs, evidencing the fact that deployment of EHR systems has been considerably slower among Behavioral Health and LTPAC providers such as skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).  The study looks to improvements being made and furthering progress in the state as communication between systems remains somewhat limited due to the many providers who are currently using EHRs not yet regularly sharing information digitally via HIEs on a practice-to-practice or practice-to-patient basis. Executive Summary, purpose and scope, highlights, implications, next steps and more… The 2014 MeHI Provider and Consumer Health IT Research Study can be downloaded here

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