Posts Tagged ‘technology’

HHS Continues to Reward States’ Efforts to Build Affordable Insurance Exchanges

October 8th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller

Six states have been awarded HHS grants to establish new health insurance exchanges, making a total of 49 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories that have received grants to begin planning their exchanges, and 34 states and the District of Columbia that have received grants to begin building their exchanges. States may apply for grants through the end of 2014 and may use funds through the initial start-up year, HHS officials say.

When patients use technologies, like smartphone apps, iPads, and sensors to share personal information with their physicians, their care and outcomes are enhanced, according to new research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Patients from around the country recorded details about their daily lives and shared them with physicians who explored how they could be incorporated into clinical care. The results were promising; some of the health conditions that could be improved upon include Crohn’s disease, asthma, and even cognitive decline, among others.

Not so promising: rates of hospitalizations for nursing home patients. Nearly 50 percent of hospitalizations among nursing home residents receiving either Medicare SNF services or Medicaid nursing facility services could have been avoided, according to CMS, and total costs for these hospitalizations for 2011 were between $7 and $8 billion. Seven organizations in seven states are partnering with CMS in a new program to improve care and reduce hospitalization for 145 selected long-stay nursing facility residents. Care quality models will be tested, and funding will be provided to the organizations that provide enhanced on-site services and supports to nursing facility residents.

The benefits of PCMH’s continue to be documented; the latest study, fromHealthCore Inc., an independent subsidiary of WellPoint Inc., showed that physicians working in New York area-based PCMHs better managed their patients’ diseases, ordered fewer high-cost imaging tests, reduced ER visits and avoidable hospitalizations, and reduced costs of care for patients overall. The PCMHs were working to earn NCQA recognition during the study measurement period, which encompassed all of 2009. All PCMHs achieved recognition by 2010.