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Hudson Valley Initiative Health Care Transformation Leader to Present at Harvard Meeting

Thursday, August 12, 2010 Drug News J E 4
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Taconic Health Information Network and Community's Susan Stuard will present building blocks for transformation Aug. 18 at Ninth National Quality Colloquium in Cambridge, Mass.

FISHKILL, N.Y., Aug. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Across the nation, the changing health care environment is challenging physicians and other providers to redefine their roles within new models of care. The potential relationship between two models, the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) and the accountable care organization (ACO) will be explored by Susan Stuard, executive director of the Taconic Health Information Network and Community (THINC) at a meeting of quality leaders at Harvard University Aug. 16-19, 2010.

Stuard will speak as part of the Accountable Care and the Patient-Centered Medical Home education track at the Ninth National Quality Colloquium in Cambridge, Mass. Her presentation, entitled "Medical Home Practices in a Virtual ACO: the Taconic Health Information Network and Community (THINC)," will take place Aug. 18 at 2:15 p.m. and will examine the concept of the ACO and how PCMH as a model of care fits within it.

Stuard leads THINC, the not-for-profit convener of providers, payers, employers, public health agencies, quality organizations, consumers and other Hudson Valley leaders. In 2009, THINC managed an innovative quality initiative in the Hudson Valley that resulted in National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognition of 51 primary care practice sites as Level 3 patient-centered medical homes, the highest level achievable. This groundbreaking accomplishment was achieved by 236 physicians within 11 primary care practice and represents 44 percent of total Level 3 clinicians in New York, and nearly 10 percent of all practices at this level across the country.

In the PCMH model, patients select a primary care practice to be their "medical home," through which care is coordinated using a team-based approach. Core components of the PCMH include better access to care through open scheduling and use of electronic health communication tools, care coordination among providers, a focus on preventive care and the use of health information technology such as electronic health records and electronic prescribing.

An ACO is a way to formally connect a set of non-affiliated providers--ideally primary care physicians, specialists, community health centers and hospitals--and hold them accountable for the cost and quality of care delivered to a defined population of patients. The providers that are part of an ACO also collect cost and quality data that can be used to evaluate their performance. When the organization achieves quality and efficiency goals, cost savings may be shared among the ACO providers.

The new health care act directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to create a national program for ACOs by January 2012. Conceptually, ACOs are considered a potential pathway to reduce the rate of health care cost increases while also improving care coordination and health care quality.

The PCMH is seen by many as a practice model that, when used in concert with the ACO financial structure, can help ensure quality and care coordination goals.

The Ninth National Quality Colloquium will take a close look at current issues and challenges in patient safety and health care quality, especially in the context of major changes arising from health reform, including ACOs and the PCMH. The conference offers both on-site and online participation opportunities. For more information, click here.

THINC works synergistically with two other Hudson Valley organizations: Taconic IPA, a 4,000 member provider organization; and MedAllies, a health information service company. Working together as the Hudson Valley Initiative, their goal is to revolutionize health care delivery through a shared vision to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care in the community. To read more about the 2009 PCMH transformation project, see the issue brief, "A Revolution in Collaboration: The Hudson Valley Initiative" here.

About the Hudson Valley Initiative

The Hudson Valley Initiative is an effort among three organizations--Taconic IPA, Taconic Health Information Network and Community and MedAllies--to revolutionize health care delivery through a shared vision to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care in the community. These three organizations leverage health information technology, physician practice transformation and value-based purchasing in pursuit of care delivery that is patient-centered, coordinated, accessible, high quality, and efficiently delivered through sustainable financial models. To learn more, go to http://www.hudsonvalleyinitiative.com.

SOURCE Hudson Valley Initiative
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