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Health Affairs: Innovations Across the Nation in Health Care Delivery

Posted Dec 27 2010 12:47am

gilfillanrichard Health Affairs recently convened a day-long conference entitled “ Innovations Across the Nation in Health Care Delivery .” Dr. Richard Gilfillan, the acting director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, keynoted the event as one of a number of stops on his recent “listening tour” across the states in an effort to garner input for the Center’s quest to eliminate waste and to create “a sustainable system” in health care.

The Center’s mandate under the law is “to test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care furnished.” But as Dr. Gilfillan mentioned, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the law is that if the Center can show that it has found a way to fulfill its mandate– demonstrating such and proving it to the CMS actuaries, then the Secretary can sign into effect new regulations to effectuate  new payment models for CMS.

An underlying guidance, if not a mantra, for Dr. Gilfillan is the notion that, as contained in an Institute of Medicine study, there is 30%  waste in medical services. Much of this, he believes, is attributable to our fragmented health care system; thus, the emphasis going forward should be on implementing “seamless coordinated care.” An interesting example of something that works, is a chronic care “hotline.” Dr. Gilfillan described the innovation–where a chronic disease patient, suffering from both COPD and diabetes, cold call a particular nurse, Mary, to express concerns she might have about some aspect of her health– be it weight gain, increased shortness of breath, or anything else. The patient’s daughter could Mary as well. They did. The patient’s hospitalizations are down– and the patient attributes to the program the fact that she’s still alive.

According to Health Affairs, “The program also featured several panels of CEOs and program leaders from institutions that have innovated at the patient care level; in the creation of more highly coordinated patient care systems; and at the population level, in terms of improving population health.”

It’s an interesting conference. You can find the panel videos, including Dr. Richard Gilfillan’s address  here .

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