Funding to Increase Health IT

NIH awarded over $7,000,000 for 3 years to the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) to develop new Health IT strategies. The plan is to increase screening for chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) to reduce the impact of Hepatitis B among high-risk Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations.

Many AAPIs with chronic HBV are not receiving the care that they need and are disproportionately impacted by this disease. It happens that over half of the estimated 2 million people infected with HBV in the U.S. are AAPIs.

This is going to be the first study to research how health IT can improve HBV outcomes for medically underserved AAPI populations at risk and infected with HBV. This research challenge will be accomplished with the help of one of the AAPI member community health centers called International Health Services (ICHS).

The project will enable AAPCHO and ICHS to use health IT to improve care at the provider and patient level. The project will work to create health IT tools that will help diagnose health problems sooner, reduce medical errors, and provide safer and more comprehensive care.

Through the use of health IT, providers will be able to give HBV testing and vaccination reminders to patients, work with ICHS to conduct interviews, surveys, and focus groups, and use the findings to develop culturally tailored HBV interventions that incorporate health IT.

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Correctional Services Issues RFP

On April 5, 2013, California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) issued RFP #12265 seeking proposals for a Healthcare Provider Network (HCPN). The HCPN will enable community-based Specialty Medical Services Providers and a Third Party Administrator (TPA) to process claims for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

This RFP is the result of the State of California’s ongoing failure to provide medical care to prison inmates at constitutionally acceptable levels. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California appointed a Receiver to assume executive management of the California prison medical system. (more…)

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Testing Sensors in Stroke Rehab

A team at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is applying two well-tested applications in new ways in an attempt to improve mobility in people who have suffered a stroke.  Researchers specializing in rehabilitation use smart phone technology to evaluate the progress of stroke survivors who are learning to walk again.

“In our study, we’re measuring how well people walked before and how they walk after intervention with a new system of wireless sensors that use the same technology found in cell phones and tablets,” said Stephen Page PhD, Associate professor of Occupation Therapy at Ohio State’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. “This is the first time this approach has been used.” (more…)

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Telehealth Helping Veterans

The VA is increasing the use of telehealth according to the 400 page report “Department of Veterans Affairs 2012 Performance and Accountability Report” released last November. The report states, “In 2012, the VA implemented new innovative practices such as telemedicine and mobile clinics to provide care to more than 6 million unique patients.” In 2012, nearly 500,000 veteran patients received 1.4 million telehealth-based consultations delivered from 150 VA Medical Centers and 750 Outpatient Clinics.

A few years back, GlobalMed’s offerings were chosen by the VA to deploy multifaceted telemedicine systems throughout the VA’s Medical Centers, Community-based Outpatient Clinics, and Community Living Centers. (more…)

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NIH’s Small Market Awards

NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) seek applicants for the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled “Small Market Awards: SBIR Phase IIB Competing Renewals for Heart, Lung, Blood and Sleep Technologies with Small Commercial Markets” (RFA-HL-14-012).

The awards are to help Phase II SBIR awardees develop technologies needed by NHLBI that can address small commercial markets, as in the case of rare diseases or technologies needed by the young pediatric population ages 0-12 years. (more…)

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State Withdraws Proposal to CMS

State Withdraws Proposal to CMS

A longstanding barrier to coordinating care for Medicare-Medicaid enrollees has been the financial misalignment between Medicare and Medicaid. To help solve the problem, CMS is going to test tow models to help states better align the financing for these two programs and to integrate primary, acute, behavioral health, and long term services to help Medicare-Medicaid enrollees.

To participate in Financial Alignment Demonstrations, states had to submit a proposal outlining their approach. On April 10th, Thomas Betlach, Director of Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), Arizona’s Medicaid agency sent a letter to Melanie Bella, Director for the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office at CMS  to withdraw Arizona’s proposal to pursue the CMS demonstration for members in Medicaid and Medicare.

Betlach gives several reasons why Arizona is withdrawing their proposal:

  • Arizona is in the midst of two significant procurements for managed care plans with October 1, 2013 start dates involving complex transitions for members and services
  • Additional procurements are scheduled during the three year demonstration period
  • Significant political and operational challenges are involved with restoring coverage for childless adults and developing the infrastructure required for the ACA
  • All current health plans help dual eligible Special Needs Persons or D-SNPs
  • 43,000 members are currently aligned with contracted health plans
  • General mental health/substance abuse services are currently not integrated for some members


In addition, some of the other risks for Arizona include the start date for implementation, the path forward after the three year demonstration, and the issues surrounding capitation rates and supplemental benefits.

The state of Arizona has therefore decided to pursue alignment through the use of the state’s managed care model. The State is looking to build off the D-SNP platform and move forward. In addition, the state is going to pursue partnerships with other states and the National Association of Medicaid Directors to leverage D-SNPs and build upon the success the state has had so far.

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Mayo CEO Speaks at NPC

Dr. John H. Noseworthy, President and CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota remarked at the National Press Club, “Putting knowledge into practice quickly will create value that will benefit patients and produce high quality care at lower cost”. He realizes the Mayo Clinic and others need to obtain knowledge on what works and best practice protocols.  (more…)

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