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Have You SIM’d Yet?

For the first time since the Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform (the 208 Commission) developed its recommendations for comprehensive health reform in 2007-08, Colorado is thinking big about how to transform our health care delivery and payment system. And now is the time for key informants like the readers of this column to weigh in.

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When Doctors Get a Union Card

Saturday’s New York Times carried a front-page story about negotiations between administrators and the physicians’ union at the New York Health and Hospital Authority over a new pay-for-performance arrangement. Physicians’ raises will be tied to their performance on indicators such as patients’ assessments of physicians’ communication with them, how quickly ED patients are transferred to beds and how quickly patients are discharged, as well as quality metrics such as 30-day readmission rates for certain diagnoses.

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Community Change Agent Profile: Aurora Mental Health Center & the Chambers Hope Health and Wellness Clinic

Profile: Founded in 1975 by residents determined to bring services to their city, the Aurora Mental Health Center (AUMHC) began in a donated space. In the 42 years since inception, the center has grown to over 400 employees, 16 specialty clinics, seven counseling centers, six residential facilities, and an active presence in public schools and homes across Aurora

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SIM. What's All the Excitement About?

On December 16, 2014, the staff at CIVHC spontaneously started yelling and dancing. No, we were not celebrating the upcoming holidays with synchronized glee, nor were we working on “Colorado APCD: The Musical”. We were throwing a party because the long awaited Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation State Innovation Model Round 2 funding awards were released and two long years of work were being rewarded. Colorado was awarded $65 million dollars to implement the Colorado state innovation model and was one of only 11 states awarded dollars to fund implementation of a statewide plan. While we here at CIVHC have been living and breathing SIM for the past two years, it might not be as familiar to all of you. Let me give you a brief history of the work that has been put into SIM and hopefully you’ll see why we’re so excited.

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Staying Hopeful About Health Reform

 Originally posted on CCMU.org

Will we ever be able to stop “reforming” our health care system?

I’ve been working on health policy issues for more than 20 years, and from the beginning my efforts were framed around health “reform.” Indeed, neither the problems under discussion nor the thrust of the proposed solutions has changed much over that time period. But change is hard, particularly when agents of change are ranged against deep-pocketed industries, entrenched guilds and bureaucratic inertia.

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Specialist Health Reform Survival Tips

I was asked by a good friend who is an orthopedic surgeon to put together a list of action items that a forward-thinking orthopedic surgery group should be considering during these dynamic health care times. From my former experience running a successful orthopedic practice and my current work with CIVHC focusing on health care reform specific to paying for high-value health care, I have assembled a list of suggested “to-dos” that specialists should consider to remain vital in the upcoming years.

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Change Agent Chat Briefing, Southeast Health Group

On February 24th, CIVHC's CMO, Jay Want, sat down with Southeast Health Group's Integrated Care Director, Jackie Brown, to discuss their TIPPING Point program that integrates mental and physical health through health navigators. Listen to the recording of the Change Agent Chat and read a summary of the conversation.

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Obamacare: Hope, Fear and Misinformation

Recently I spoke about Obamacare to two different community groups. My expectations of each group were different given their locale – one was in well-to-do neighborhood that trends quite red at the voting booth (I was braced for anything up to and including a death panel discussion) and the other was in central Denver which I guessed would be more progressive in tenor. It turns out that the conversations were nearly identical and characterized by a striking polarity in which nearly everyone simultaneously viewed Obamacare with hope and fear.

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Integrating Public Health to Achieve Triple Aim Goals

In 2011, CIVHC worked extensively with members of its Payment Reform, Delivery System Redesign, and Consumer Engagement Advisory Groups, along with other interested stakeholders, to lay out a framework for moving the payment system toward outcomes-based reimbursement for care in Colorado. The advisory groups developed a six milepost framework that offers a path for communities to evolve to the destination of highly integrated systems of health and health care delivery. The destination includes community and public health as full partners with providers paid risk-adjusted, performance-based global payments, and patients fully informed, engaged, and empowered.

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Integrated Care at Safety Net Clinics is Saving Lives

Potentially preventing a teen from suicide by cleaning her teeth might seem like a far-fetched connection. But this was just one example of the power of an integrated team based approach to primary care at safety net clinics that was highlighted at this year’s Colorado Health Symposium. August commemorates clinics serving vulnerable populations through both National Health Center Week and Colorado’s Safety Net Clinic Week. In an effort to identify and promote effective, patient-centered delivery systems, CIVHC has learned that clinics like these that are treating the whole patient – mind, body and spirit – through a multi-disciplinary team approach are finding benefits they never imagined.

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Full Speed Ahead for Accountable Care

With the President’s re-election, the concepts embodied in the Affordable Care Act will pick up steam. One of those is the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model. ACOs are voluntary organizations that focus on coordination for patients across care settings, including doctors’ offices, hospitals, and long-term care; the coordination is made “accountable” through payment models that reward quality and share (potentially) both up-side and down-side risk. While the ACA enabled ACOs specifically for Medicare, this vision of coordinated, accountable care is being used for all populations and a variety of payers. So this seems like an opportune time to share some information and observations about ACOs—both nationally and within our state.

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Tipping Point in Health Care?

I’ve been in health care for over 30 years and as I think about most of the problems with healthcare… access, quality, cost, safety, etc., many of the solutions to these issues were obvious even back in those early days of my career. We knew then that fee for service reimbursement created perverse incentives and that outcome based payments aligned incentives for better care and lower costs. In general, care was siloed, inefficient and demanded vertical and horizontal coordination along with tools such as electronic health records (EHR). The problem was that there was no pressure to change unless it was self-generated. Today, many of the same problems exist, but the impetus and external pressures to improve are upon us.

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Clinical Integration Versus Market Consolidation: An Important Distinction

What do we mean when we use the term “integrated care”?

This question struck me as I read about a health plan’s recent purchase of a network of providers in another state. The plan CEO and the reporter both used the phrase “integration” to describe the company’s strategy. But the vision of integration that emerged was less about clinical care and more about business share—a vision that differs markedly from that of CIVHC and many other stakeholders. And it’s important to understand that distinction.

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Watching Physician Culture Change

Originally posted on www.wanthealthcarellc.com.

I do a fair amount of work in payment and delivery system reform, in various communities around the country.  I have been speaking to physicians about change coming for over a decade. If you have done any of this work, you may have had this common experience: that change is hard, and people have to have a really good reason to change the status quo. I admit it sometimes seemed to me that change would never come. 

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