On October 23, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced a four-year, $840 million initiative to incentivize medical providers “to rethink and redesign their practices.” The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative will support 150,000 group practices, healthcare systems, provider associations and institutions in efforts to improve patient care and reduce costs.
Although details of the initiative are vague and confusing, HHS said that it will fund strategies to improve physicians access to information on patients prescription drug use; expand available modes of communication with patients; improve coordination of care among primary care providers, specialists and others; and encourage the expanded use of electronic health records. The initiative is independent of, but appears to overlap with, several other care-coordination and cost-reduction initiatives created under the Affordable Care Act.
Under the initiative, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will award “cooperative agreements” to networks of healthcare providers and others, called “Practice Transformation Networks,” and networks of professional associations, called “Support and Alignment Networks,” that would assist the Practice Transformation Networks. Additional information on the initiative and how to apply for the available federal funding may be found on the CMS website.