CMS Innovation Advisors Aim to Improve Quality of Care

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , January 6, 2012

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.

Reassigning care management responsibilities
In this case, innovation dictates how care is administered. Care management will be directed by providers, not by payers as is typically the case. "If a physician contracts with eight plans, that can mean dealing with eight care managers and that can make care coordination very difficult," Lewis explains. In measuring its success, Lewis says the project will look at utilization metrics, inpatient hospitalizations, and patient and caregiver experiences.

Lewis is committed to the innovation program for 12 months but expects her project to extend beyond that time period.

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