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Analysis

17 Health Systems Form Medicaid Transformation Project

By John Commins  
   August 22, 2018

Former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt will co-lead collaborative that focuses on behavioral health, women and infant care, substance abuse and avoidable ER visits.

Seventeen health systems in 21 states are collaborating to identify, develop, and scale financially sustainable digital solutions to improve healthcare for the 75 million Americans on Medicaid.

The Medicaid Transformation Project will focus on critical challenges facing vulnerable populations across the country, including behavioral health, women and infant care, substance use disorder, and avoidable emergency department visits.

"Geisinger has joined the Medicaid Transformation Project because of AVIA’s emphasis on action. ... The gap between the needs of vulnerable populations and the healthcare they receive is too great," said David Feinberg, CEO of Geisinger, in Danville, Pennsylvania, one of five "anchor" health systems in the collaborative.

"We are no longer interested in discussing the problems our patients are facing or just piloting solutions – we’re interested in solving them as quickly as possible," Feinberg said.  

The other four anchor health systems are Advocate Aurora Health in Chicago and Wisconsin; Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas; Dignity Health  in San Francisco; and Providence St. Joseph Health in Renton, Washington.

The collaborative will be led by AVIA, the health system digital transformation network, and Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and founder of the venture capital firm Town Hall Ventures.  

"The current healthcare system fails the people who need it most," Slavitt said. "The Medicaid Transformation Project will be part of a decade-long journey leading some of the best health systems in the country. Our work will be to deepen and refine the best innovations and then implement them at an accelerated pace at providers across the country."

Slavitt is an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and its ongoing efforts to hobble the Affordable Care Act and reform Medicare and Medicaid. It is not clear if the collaborative intends to work with Medicaid, or in spite of it, to achieve its transformational goals. No mention of collaboration with the current leadership at CMS made in a media release issued by the collaborative. 

AVIA will work with a team at each health system to implement solutions that share best practices across the network, and create a roadmap for partner organizations to act quickly to create change. The work will feature a Leadership Council, chaired by Slavitt and composed of health system CEOs.

The collaborative said that Medicaid in its existing form is not sustainable, and the fallout from a destabilized program could be catastrophic. Medicaid insures one-in-five Americans, pays for 50% of births in the United States, is the biggest payer for behavioral health services, and with Medicare accounts for 33 cents of every dollar for physician services.

Combined, the 17 hospitals in the collaborative span 21 states, 280 hospitals with more than 53,000 hospitals beds, and more than $100 billion in combined annual revenues.

The collaborative said the allied health systems will be able to better meet their communities' needs by adopting shared digital solutions and innovative care models.

In addition to the five anchor health systems, the 12 other health systems in the Medicaid Transformation Project are:

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Collaborative will focus on digitial solutions to improve care for vulnerable populations.

It's not clear if the collaborative is working with CMS to achieve its goals.

Slavitt is an outspoken critic of the Trump administration's efforts to reform Medicaid and Medicare.


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