Schumer backs collaborative's bid for funding

By WILL ASTOR - 3/22/2012 3:48:05 PM

Sen. Charles Schumer on Thursday announced support for a Rochester Health Innovation Collaborative bid for $30 million in federal funding.

RHIC is seeking federal money from a grant program created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and administered by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. CMMI plans to hand out a total of $1 billion in grants of up to $30 million apiece. The money is marked for organizations creating new programs to test delivery system reforms and new ways to provide care.
RHIC was formed last year as a collaboration among area health care organizations. The group aims to improve care and hold down costs. The coalition’s 30 members include local hospitals, doctors, health care organizations, community and religious groups, and health insurance carriers, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and MVP Health Care.

Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, serves as chairman of RHIC. Rochester Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon is vice chairman.

In the grant application, RHIC proposes to carry out a three-part plan that would create a network of care managers to work out of local physicians’ offices and support medical homes, provide incentives to encourage doctors to streamline their practices and build a data-tracking system to help area providers collect and analyze patient-care information.

Developed under the auspices of Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, the RHIC plan would cover Monroe County and its five contiguous counties. Its implementation across the six-county region would create savings of up to $36 million over three years and as much as $77 million over five years, Monroe County Medical Society executive director Nancy Adams said. 

Schumer, D-NY, said he had met with CMS administrator Marilyn Travener to advocate for the RHIC application and had written to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seeking her support for RHIC’s bid for a maximum award.

CMMI is slated to start handing out the grants March 30. 
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