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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2010

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, OWENS ANNOUNCE: ADIRONDACK REGIONAL MEDICAL HOME WINS PRESTIGIOUS PILOT PROGRAM - WILL EXPAND AND IMPROVE HEALTH CARE FOR MORE THAN 200,000 NYERS AND POTENTIALLY PAVE THE WAY FOR NATIONWIDE CHANGES

Schumer, Gillibrand and Owens Have Worked For Over Two Years to Bring Pilot Program to North Country - Weighing in Personally Multiple Times With Secretary Sebelius and CMS

Medicare Money and Collaboration Will Bring Adirondack's Cutting Edge Approach to Patients in Hamilton, Franklin, Clinton, Essex and Warren Counties and Pave The Way For Nationwide Improvements and Cost Savings

Adirondack Health Institute is a Major Driver of the North Country's Economy and this Project Will Ensure that It Will Continue to Be

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Bill Owens announced that the Adirondack Region Medical Home, run by Adirondack Health Institute (a collaboration of over 120 physicians and 96 physician assistants and nurse practitioners), five hospitals, seven commercial health plans, the New York State Department of Health, the Medical Society of the State of New York, and the New York State Association of Counties has been awarded  a prestigious federal demonstration project from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The project, which Schumer, Gillibrand and Owens personally lobbied HHS to award, will allow the Adirondack Region Medical Home Program to provide care for more of the North Country’s residents by expanding the center’s reach to the region’s 35,000 Medicare patients. With these new funds and the cooperation of Medicare, the Adirondack Region Medical Home will be able to bring its cutting-edge and high-quality approach to the area’s patients, and will test payment methods that could lead the way to health cost saving changes nationwide.  The project is worth over $2 million and will also combat physician and health professions shortages by drawing doctors and more efficiently deploying current providers. 

The Adirondack Region Medical Home Pilot, developed by a group of local health care providers and other partners, has set up an innovative model for treatment and payment for medical care.  In return for the enhanced reimbursement, participating health care providers must meet a new standard of care that provides increased emphasis on primary and preventive care, improved coordination of care and management of chronic diseases, improved communication with patients – including patient reminders for check-ups and screenings – the use of electronic health records and electronic prescribing, and adhering to quality and safety standards.  With this award of the demonstration project Medicare has acknowledged this method of payment and patient care could one day be a national model, and is testing that theory in the North Country. 

“The number one problem with healthcare is that the cost doesn’t always match the service because there’s too much waste and duplication, but Adirondack Region Medical Home has been recognized as an innovator that will change how our health care system works – putting patients first,” said Schumer.  “In the short run this will improve medical care for thousands of New Yorkers and in the long run it could help reduce our nations medical costs – an important factor in deficit reduction.”

 

“The Adirondack Region is the right choice for the Medical Home Demonstration Project,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This program will support the innovative health care providers in the North Country to continue to provide top-notch care to New Yorkers, while lowering medical costs. The Adirondack Region Medical Home Pilot will serve as an example for the rest of the country.”

 

“This is a tremendous win for Upstate New York as we work to  improve the overall quality of health care in our communities,” said Owens.  “Along with several provisions of recently enacted health care law, this is just one of the vehicles that we can successfully utilize to give preventative care programs a jump start and reduce overall costs.”

 

"This is the rare program that promises to improve quality and decrease cost simultaneously,” said Stephens Mundy, President and CEO of CVPH Medical Center. “Senators Schumer’s and Gillbrand’s and Congressman Owens’ support and assistance in gaining funding from the CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will have a positive impact on the health and health care for thousands of New Yorkers living in the Northeast portion of the state."

 

“HHHN and its Medical Home partners would like to thank Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Owens for their support of Medicare participation in the Adirondack Medical Home Pilot,” said Dr. John Rugge of Hudson Headwaters Health Network. “The decision by CMS to include Medicare beneficiaries in the Pilot creates one of the nation’s largest multi payer demonstration projects in support of comprehensive primary care and care coordination efforts that will engage patients to improve health outcomes while reducing costs."

 

"This is an historic moment in healthcare service to our Medicare patients in the Adirondacks,” said Chandler M. Ralph, President and CEO of Adirondack Medical Center. “The fact that CMS stepped forward and recognized the unique rural nature and success of our Medical Home primary care project speaks volumes about the hard work done by the physicians, hospitals, insurers and New York State in bringing this pilot project to fruition after 3 years of very hard work. And we certainly could not have achieved this without the support and assistance of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Congressman Owens. They recognized the value of this unique project and immediately assisted us in making the best argument , fighting for our senior citizens to realize the benefit of a Medical Home. "

 

Today’s announcement comes from section 204 of the 2006 Tax Relief and Health Care Act which established the 3 year Medicare Medical Home demonstration to redesign the healthcare delivery system to provide continuous and coordinated family-centered care. Under the program, health centers with a good reputation for quality care, like Adirondack,  can partner with Medicare to increase care for seniors and others in rural areas. For example, under the current Medicare program a senior in New York’s North Country might see multiple physician specialists in addition to their primary physician. Currently, much of that care is uncoordinated, but the Adirondack program patient-centered care that improves access, contains costs and makes high quality care the norm. The program also emphasizes preventative measures that reduce costs for patients and the healthcare system in the long run.

 

The Adirondack Region Medical Home Program began in 2004 with an $85,000 grant from the Rural Health Network program which was secured by Hudson Headwaters at a time when the number of physicians in the area was decreasing. The Adirondack Program is a collaborative effort by health care providers and public and private insurers to transform the health care delivery system in Upstate New York.  Its goals are to improve quality, ensure access and contain costs for health care.  It accomplishes these goals by emphasizing preventive care, enhanced management of chronic conditions, and by assuring a close relationship between patients and their primary care providers.  

 

The program will serve seniors in Hamilton, Franklin, Clinton, Essex and Warren Counties. Already Adirondack Region Medical Home partners with Medicaid, Fidelis, Health Plus, The Empire Plan and five commercial insurers: Blue Shield of Northeastern New York, Capital District Physicians Health Plan, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Excellus and MVP. These partnerships have been working to improve care for the region’s residents and will now be open to more seniors with the addition of Medicare. 35,000 seniors representing 15% of the total population in the Adirondack region will soon receive better care because of today’s announced funding.

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