HHS grants $685M to clinicians for patient-centered care: 8 things to know

Nearly 40 national and regional healthcare networks and supporting organizations will receive $685 million to improve patient care as part of the federal government's initiative to overhaul payment methods for medical providers.

Here are eight things to know about the grants.

1. The grants, unveiled Tuesday and funded under the Affordable Care Act, are designed to help equip more than 140,000 clinicians with the tools and support needed to improve the quality of care, increase patients' access to information, and reduce costs.

2. HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell released the awards in conjunction with a roundtable discussion between members of Congress and healthcare leaders about the healthcare industry's move to one that rewards value over volume. "Supporting doctors and other healthcare professionals change the way they work is critical to improving quality and spending our healthcare dollars more wisely," Secretary Burwell said in a news release. "These awards will give patients more of the information they need to make informed decisions about their care and give clinicians access to information and support to improve care coordination and quality outcomes."

3. The awards will help 29 medical group practices, regional healthcare systems and regional extension centers offer clinicians peer-to-peer support, government officials said. Some of those efforts include providing dedicated coaches to help practices better manage chronic disease and offer preventive care, and offering real-time notification alerts for clinicians caring for high-risk patients, among other efforts.

4. In addition, 10 national organizations and healthcare professional associations will receive up to $27 million to:

•    Align clinical practice guidelines across multiple medical specialties and disseminate those findings through well-established communications channels;
•    Offer Continuing Medical Education credit to clinicians to support transformation efforts and ensure participating clinicians are offered coordinated education programs;
•    Share best practices and provide technical assistance and coaching to members struggling with how to participate in emerging alternative payment models; and
•    Provide educational materials and access to registry data information, including training on how to use the data to improve care.

5. Among the award recipients are the American College of Emergency Physicians and American College of Radiology, which will engage clinicians, patients and families in reducing unnecessary testing.

6. In addition, the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium will use the money to assess, educate and provide onsite, peer-supported education and training to more than 5,500 rural providers who may wish to transition into accountable care organizations.

7. Also, the American Board of Family Medicine will work with more than 25,000 family physicians to help both clinicians and patients navigate the changing healthcare system, reduce disparities in healthcare and move toward a wellness-based approach to managing care.

8. And the National Nursing Centers Consortium will work with over 7,000 nurse practitioners that support 2.5 million patients to eliminate over 14,000 unnecessary tests and avoid over 4,000 unnecessary hospital admissions.


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