Healthcare News & Insights

CMS awards $685 million to support quality patient-center care

money-pileThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is often seen as the big bad wolf because it penalizes hospitals for high readmission rates, patients contracting hospital acquired infections, etc. But CMS has a good side, too. For example, it recently awarded $685 million to 39 national and regional healthcare networks and supporting organizations. 


It was part of the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) – one of the largest federal investments designed to support doctors and other clinicians in all 50 states through collaborative and peer-based learning networks.

The $685 million helped equip more than 140,000 clinicians with the tools and support needed to improve quality of care, increase patients’ access to information and reduce costs.

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) came to life, CMS has launched a number of programs and models to help providers achieve large-scale transformation. Some of them include the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program, Accountable Care Organizations and the Partnership for Patients initiative with Hospital Engagement Networks.

Move toward patient-centered care

The purpose of these programs and models is to help clinicians and hospitals move from volume-based practices toward value-based and patient-centered care.

According to CMS, these initiatives have resulted in fewer hospital readmissions, and reductions in healthcare-associated infections and hospital-acquired conditions. They’ve also improved quality outcomes and cost efficiency.

For example, thanks to the Partnership for Patients initiative, there’s been a cumulative total of 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 relative to the number that would have occurred if rates stayed at the 2010 level. As a result, about 50,000 fewer patients died in facilities from hospital-acquired conditions, and approximately $12 billion in healthcare costs were saved from 2010-2013.

At this point in time, only small-scale investments in collaborative peer-based learning initiatives have taken place. And only 16% of nearly 1 million Medicare and Medicaid providers participate in programs.

Boost numbers

The TCPI will help boost these numbers. And according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the money that supports the 140,000 clinicians will:

  • Help providers give patients better tools for communication through emails and other information technology applications
  • Provide coaches to help better manage chronic diseases and offer preventive care
  • Offer real-time notification alerts for clinicians caring for high-risk patients
  • Improve screening and treatment of mental health and substance abuse across multiple care settings
  • Centralize data reporting and provide tech assistance, and
  • Promote patient, provider and community engagement.

An additional $27 million will go to 10 national organizations and healthcare professional associations for the purpose of:

  • Aligning clinical practice guidelines across multiple medical specialties
  • Offering continuing medical education credits to clinicians to support transformation efforts
  • Sharing best practices, and providing technical assistance and coaching to their members, and
  • Providing educational materials and access to registry data information.

Practice transformation networks

The practice transformation networks are peer-based learning networks designed to coach, mentor and help providers develop core competencies specific to practice transformation. Awardees in this category are:

  • Arizona Health-e Connection
  • Baptist Health System Inc.
  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County
  • Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
  • Community Care of North Carolina Inc.
  • Community Health Center Association of Connecticut Inc.
  • Consortium for Southeastern Hypertension Control
  • Health Partners Delmarva, LLC
  • Iowa Healthcare Collaborative
  • Local Initiative Health Authority of Los Angeles County
  • Maine Quality Counts
  • Mayo Clinic
  • National Council for Behavioral Health
  • National Rural Accountable Care Consortium
  • New Jersey Innovation Institute
  • New Jersey Medical & Health Associates dba CarePoint Health
  • New York eHealth Collaborative
  • New York University School of Medicine
  • Pacific Business Group on Health
  • PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center
  • Rhode Island Quality Institute
  • The Trustees of Indiana University
  • VHA/UHC Alliance Newco Inc.
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • University of Washington
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • VHQC
  • VHS Valley Health Systems, LLC
  • Washington State Department of Health

Support and alignment networks

The support and alignment networks provide a system for workforce development utilizing national and regional professional associations, and public-private partnerships currently working in practice transformation efforts. The awardees in this category are:

  • American College of Emergency Physicians
  • American College of Physicians Inc.
  • HCD International Inc.
  • Patient Centered Primary Care Foundation
  • The American Board of Family Medicine Inc.
  • Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement
  • American College of Radiology
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • American Medical Association
  • National Nursing Centers Consortium



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