SHELTON, Conn., Aug. 18 Enhanced CareInitiatives (ECI - HC Innovations, Inc., OTC Bulletin Board: HCNV) todayannounced that it has signed a two year contract with HIP Health Plans of NewYork to support the transformation of primary care practices into MedicalHomes. The contract is part of the EmblemHealth Medical Home Project, whichseeks to promote improved care for health plan members by developing a highperformance network of physicians using electronic health records andoffice-based care management. Project evaluation is supported by a $460,000grant from The Commonwealth Fund to the Ethel Donaghue Center for TranslatingResearch into Practice and Policy (TRIPP) at the University of Connecticut.
In the Medical Home model, the physician office delivers patient-centeredprimary care and coordinates care with other providers for patients withchronic medical problems. Patients have enhanced access through advancedappointment systems and telephone and email communication, clinical decisionsupport tools guide evidence-based practice, and patients receive support forself-care.
Under the contract, ECI will help participating physician officestransform into medical homes by providing consultative assistance for redesignaround electronic health records and by embedding RN care managers into theoffice to assist the physician in population management, care planning, andpatient self-management.
The TRIPP Center will compare the progress that practices make in becomingmedical homes, and performance on quality, efficiency, and patient experiencemeasures with similar parameters in a comparison group of practices.Practices have been randomly assigned to one of two groups: a Supported Groupthat receives the supplementary payment and ECI support and a Comparison Groupthat receives a stipend for participating in the project but does not getadditional payment or ECI support. TRIPP will use the Physician PracticeConnections-Patient-Centered Medical Home, a tool developed by the NationalCommittee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), an independent, not-for-profitorganization dedicated to measuring the quality of America's health care, toassess the extent to which medical practices adopt the principles of themedical home. "As a Center focused on moving evidence into community practice,we are excited to take the lead on this important randomized trial of amedical home model, as there are few, if any, randomized trials in this area,"said Judith Fifield, PhD, Director of the TRIPP Center. At the end of thetwo-year study period, the TRIPP Center will independently compile, analyze,and publish project results.
"Care management must be integrated with the physician office. Thisgroundbreaking program will redefine primary care. ECI will leverage ourcommunity based care management infrastructure to assist physicians inmanaging patients," said CEO David Chess, MD. ECI currently provides hightouch relationship based care management for patients at home or in nursinghomes.
ECI's methodology for providing support for Medical Home transformationwas developed by William Rollow MD. Until recently Dr. Rollow was Director ofthe Quality Improvement Group at the Centers for Medicare and MedicaidServices (CMS) where he had responsibility for the development of the DOQ-ITprogram through which Medicare's Quality Improvement Organizations offeredassistance to physicians in EHR adoption and process improvement. "ECI'sapproach enables physicians to make changes rapidly and effectively, whilepayers and patients get the immediate benefit of a nurse with expertise incare management," said Dr. Rollow.
"Physicians in our networks are important partners in the care that isprovided to our members," said Dr. Aran Ron, GHI President. "In this projectwe are committing to helping groups of physicians transform their practicesaccording to the patient-centered medical home con