FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 15, 2012
SCHUMER PUSH SUCCEEDS IN SECURING OVER $26 MILLION IN FEDERAL INVESTMENT FOR UNIQUE ROCHESTER-FINGER LAKES HEALTH CARE ALLIANCE – WILL ENABLE LOCAL HOSPITALS, PHYSICIANS, BUSINESSES & INSURANCE COMPANIES REVOLUTIONIZE PRIMARY CARE DELIVERY ACROSS ROCHESTER FINGER LAKES REGION
Rochester Innovation Health Collaborative Will Use Federal Award To Improve Quality of Care And Reduce Costs Throughout Rochester and Six-County Region – Backed By Local Hospitals, Insurance Companies, and Major Employers, Effort Can Become a National Model
Schumer Championed Local Effort, Including Personal Meeting, Calls and Letter to Top HHS Officials; Schumer Made The Case For Rochester’s Application Which Will Boost Primary Care, Minimize ER Visits and Save Our Health System Money
Grant Will Create Almost 100 Jobs, Improve Care, Reduce Costs and Provide Advanced Training
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced $26,583,893 in federal investments for the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency (FLHSA) to implement a plan designed to revolutionize health care in Rochester. The plan was developed by the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency through a coalition of Rochester health care providers, insurance companies, businesses, and government leaders chaired by Assemblyman Joe Morelle and Rochester Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon. This group, the Rochester Innovation Health Collaborative (RHIC), will use funding from the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Care Innovation Awards to improve primary care services for area residents in order to minimize emergency room visits and save the local health system money. Approximately one-third of the money will be used to hire new care managers for doctors’ offices in Rochester and the surrounding five counties, another third will be used to provide assistance for 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 across the country.
Schumer has been working to secure this grant for over a year. He wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius urging HHS to approve the grant application, and 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 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 a projected $48 million over three years. That is why I fought for them to receive what is one of the largest grant awards in the nation made by the federal government today,” said Senator Schumer.
“Rochester has been on the cutting edge of health care for years. For decades Rochester has 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. “This grant will help marshal the enormous brain power in Rochester toward solving the problem of escalating healthcare costs nationwide, all the while creating good-paying health care jobs in the region.”
FLHSA Executive Director Fran Weisberg said, “Our community is receiving this funding because health care collaboration is in our DNA, because our community is a national model for health care reform, and because the entire community came together for a common goal. Senator Schumer has been an outstanding partner on this grant proposal, and we greatly appreciate the Senator’s efforts to help make this proposal a reality.”
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.”
Specifically, the Finger Lakes Health System Agency received the award to improve primary care and extract real savings from the current system while improving care for Medicare and Medicaid patients. The new payment model will also reduce emergency room visits, which benefits patients and their families and the health care system. The $26 million in federal funding will create new care manager jobs in doctor’s offices and help to establish “medical homes” for thousands of patients, which will improve coordination and quality of care. A “medical home” is a is a team-based model of care in which physicians, nurses, the hospital, and homecare providers coordinate and communicate to make sure services are focused on the patient. The team works collaboratively to provide high levels of care, access and communication, care coordination and integration, and care quality and safety. 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.
Over a three-year period, the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency will train 726 health workers and hire 76 health care providers in positions as care managers, community health workers, community-based care coordinators, and practice improvement advisors in the six counties of Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates.
Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency (FLHSA) will administer the Health Care Innovation Grant on behalf of the community. Specifically, this project - “Transforming Primary Care Delivery: A Community Partnership” - will help strengthen primary care and provide care coordination to the more than 658,000 Medicare and Medicaid patients at risk for potentially avoidable hospitalizations, hospital readmissions and avoidable emergency department use. This effort is expected to reduce health care costs by $48 million over the next three years by improving people’s health, reducing the need for the most costly services.
The Health Care Innovation Awards were established in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and provide funding of up to $1 billion in grants to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), particularly those with the highest health care needs. Awards range from approximately $1 million to $30 million for a three-year period. Applications were accepted by providers, payers, local government, public-private partnerships and multi-payer collaboratives. Each grantee project will be monitored for measurable improvements in quality of care and savings generated.
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.
Considering the currently operating status of the proposed project coupled with its proposed job creation and sustainability, I applaud the FLHSA’s unique and efficient proposal. I sincerely hope the application for funding meets with your approval.
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.
Charles E. Schumer
U.S. Senator from New York
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