Sunday, April 03, 2011

Schwartz on Integrated Health Care Delivery Systems

from the inbox:


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz today commended the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its release of a proposed rule for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs are a team of doctors, hospitals and other health care providers working together to coordinate and improve care for patients with Medicare Parts A and B.

Schwartz has been instrumental in working to promote new delivery system models that focus on coordinating patient care across all elements of the health care system including the Patient Centered Medical Home and Health Care Innovation Zones.

“This rule represents a first step in the transformation toward a truly integrated, patient-centered health care delivery system. A broad array of patient care models is needed to ensure that all regional health systems can meet the needs of their diverse populations. The ACO is a unique prototype with the potential to improve the quality of patient care while cutting costs for providers, beneficiaries and taxpayers alike.

“Over the course of the health care reform process, I worked closely with stakeholders to explore opportunities for innovation in the health care delivery system that will draw on the strengths of small practices, community hospitals, academic medical centers and the many other entities that provide care at every stage of life. I encourage providers and institutions in my district and across the country to pursue options for improving care through ACOs and other delivery models in the pipeline, including Health Innovation Zones and the patient-centered medical home.

“By establishing primary care as the central point of entry for patients, CMS has ensured that ACOs will provide beneficiaries with preventive and care coordination services that are fundamental to a patient’s long-term health and wellness. Successful ACOs will integrate care across all elements of the complex health care system and the patient’s community, ensuring that the patient has an ongoing relationship with a primary care provider and consistent access to specialty and ancillary health services.

“Policymakers face many challenges on the road ahead as we begin to implement these essential provisions of the Affordable Care Act that directly impact the patient experience. I will continue to work to protect our investment in delivery system innovations that promise to curb excess spending and ensure that patients do not slip through the cracks of a fragmented health system.

“I look forward to further reviewing the proposed rule and working closely with CMS and the provider community to facilitate a smooth transition toward a more patient-centered health system.”

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