FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2012
SCHUMER SEEKS $30 MILLION IN FEDERAL INVESTMENTS FOR GROUNDBREAKING ROCHESTER HEALTH CARE COALITION – LOCAL HOSPITALS, PHYSICIANS, BUSINESSES & INSURANCE COMPANIES SEEK TO REVOLUTIONIZE PRIMARY CARE DELIVERY FOR ROCHESTER RESIDENTS
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced his push to secure $30 million in federal investments for a coalition of Rochester health care providers, insurance companies, and businesses designed to revolutionize health care in the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region. The Rochester Innovation Health Collaborative (RIHC) is seeking the funds to improve primary care services for area residents in order to minimize emergency room visits and save our health system money. Approximately one third of the money would be used to hire new care managers for doctors’ offices in Rochester and the surrounding five counties, another third would be used to provide incentives to encourage doctors to streamline the way they treat patients, and the last third will be used to improve data tracking practices so effective medical techniques that result in cost savings can be documented and more easily replicated elsewhere.
Schumer has written to Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius urging HHS to approve the grant application, and has met personally with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to advocate for the Rochester coalition.
“The Rochester Innovation Health Collaborative is a one-of-a-kind coalition of the area’s cutting-edge health care community that has a plan that will boost primary care, cut down on costly ER visits, improve data and save our health system money. That is why I am strongly fighting for them to receive a significant federal investment to implement their innovative and cost-effective health care plan,” said Senator Schumer.”
“Rochester has been on the cutting edge of health care for years. It has been part of Rochester’s DNA for decades to come together as a community to incubate and innovate new and better ways to provide health care and the federal government can help our hospitals and doctors take that work to the next level by awarding this grant,” Schumer continued. “I’m going to bat for this community health coalition because this is a smart investment in Rochester that could result in new and innovative ways to save health care dollars – something we desperately need. RIHC has put together a top notch application, and I hope they’re selected for these funds.”
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) at CMS will award $1 billion in grants starting March 30th with a maximum award of $30M. The CMMI was created in the Affordable Care Act and is designed to test out delivery system reforms and new ways to serve patients and make our health care system more efficient. CMMI has three main goals – better care, better health outcomes, and lower costs.
The RHIC is applying for $30M to improve Primary Care and extract real savings from the current system while improving care for patients, by reducing emergency room visits and other methods. The funding would be used to create new care manager jobs that will work in doctor’s offices and create the Medical Home to cut down on ER admissions. A “medical home” means physicians, the hospital and home care coordinating to make sure services are coordinated for the patient. Schumer noted that this is very important for patients with complex chronic diseases like diabetes or heart failure. The aim of this initiative is to both improve patient care and realize savings by caring for patients especially after they have left the doctor’s office.
The RHIC was convened in 2011 under the leadership of its Chairman, Assemblyman Joseph Morelle and co-Vice Chairman Rochester Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon and Wegmans General Counsel and Secretary Paul Speranza to create a collaborative community-wide approach to build new ways to improve patient care while achieving overall savings. RHIC members include of more than 30 leaders representing area hospitals, employers, health insurers, physicians, nurses, philanthropic foundations, community agencies and advocacy groups, faith-based organizations, higher education and government.
Nancy Adams, Executive Director of the Monroe County Medical Society and RHIC member said, ““This grant proposal is an exciting effort to improve primary care, working directly with providers in the Greater Rochester region. Quite simply, it will transform health care in the six-county region by relieving our community’s chronic disease burden while drastically reducing the cost of care. In fact, we foresee savings of $36 million over three years and up to $77 million after five years.”
Paul S. Speranza Jr., Wegmans Vice Chair, General Counsel and Secretary, and chair of the FLHSA-RBA High Blood Pressure Collaborative said, “Our region has a long history of leadership and innovation in health care, and today, our entire community is striving to make Rochester the healthiest community in the nation. We also have a history of community collaboration that is like nowhere else in America. Senator Schumer’s support is a shining example of how we work together. With this federal funding, Rochester will be one step closer to achieving our goal by dramatically transforming local health care. The success we achieve locally will serve as a laboratory for national health reform.”
“On behalf of all stakeholders involved in designing this grant proposal, I cannot thank Senator Schumer enough for his support and for his active involvement,” said state Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle (D-Irondequoit), chair of the Rochester Health Innovation Collaborative. “As he is on every critical project for the Rochester region, Senator Schumer has been an outstanding partner with our community on this grant proposal, from the planning stages to its submission.”
In his meeting with CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, Schumer noted that that several aspects of the group’s application set Rochester apart from other competing applications. First, the RHIC application and coalition is backed by a wide and diverse group of local stakeholders including both health care providers, physicians and local hospital systems as well as local businesses and health insurance companies. Second, the entities in the RHIC have been collaborating for months and have a long history of health innovation. Lastly, the model they’re seeking to fund is sustainable for the future, and a data-tracking system already exists to monitor the success of the program and further refine and improve the delivery of care.
A copy of Schumer’s letter to Secretary Sebelius appears below:
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201
I am very pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the Finger Lakes Health System Agency (FLHSA) and the Regional Healthcare Innovation Collaborative (RHIC) for funding under the Health Care Innovation Challenge Grant Program. This proposal will transform primary care practices in the Six County Finger Lakes region and increase the integration of medical care and community services to address non-medical determinants of health. Additionally FLHSA proposes to align incentives for a community-wide outcome based payment model.
With funding of $30 million and support from the FLHSA, the Regional Healthcare Innovation Collaborative (RHIC) will oversee three parallel streams of work. One, Primary Care Practice Transformation will be achieved through the expansion of the ongoing Medical home pilot and care manager project practices. The RHIC aims to recruit and train care managers that will be placed in a total of sixty-five participating primary care practices. Two, the project will develop a community-wide outcome based payment model through the application of the lessons learned in the PCMH practice. Lastly, FLSHA will further enhance community resources through the introduction of community case managers and community health workers.
Thank you for your consideration. For additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Director, Grant Kerr, in my Washington office at 202.224.6542.
Charles E. Schumer