Briefing on Capitol Hill

The National Commission on Physician Payment Reform released a report March 4th on Capitol Hill detailing sweeping recommendations aimed at reining in health spending and improving quality of care by eliminating the fee-for-service model by the end of the decade.

The Society of General Internal Medicine recognizing that the way physicians are paid drives the high level of spending convened the Commission last March. This independent Commission was funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Healthcare Foundation. Physicians from a variety of specialties, public and private sector leaders, consumer advocates, and health policy experts took part in the discussions. (more…)

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HHS Seeks Innovative Solutions

The “HHSentrepreneurs” program ( is based on the HHS Innovation Fellows Program launched in 2012. HHS is building on the lessons learned during the program and seeks to have internal entrepreneurs along with external entrepreneurs work together to tackle some of the Department’s toughest challenges.

Internal entrepreneurs at HHS are working on solutions to deal with complex challenges. The goal is to enable internal entrepreneurs to have the flexibility to take professional risks and to establish innovations as a key business process. The deadline for internal entrepreneurs to apply for the program is April 1, 2013. (more…)

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FOA to Reduce Health Disparities

On February 25th, NIH issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (RFA-EB-13-002) seeking SBIR grant applications to develop medical technologies aimed at reducing disparities in achieving healthcare access and health outcomes.

The medical technologies to include medical devices, imaging systems, and other technologies need to be effective, affordable, culturally acceptable, and easily accessible to individuals in the disparity population who need and can use the technology.

The proposal response must involve a formal collaboration with a healthcare provider or other healthcare organization serving one or more health disparity populations during Phase I and Phase II. (more…)

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Commonwealth Fund Accepting LOIs

The Patient-Centered Coordinated Care Program, an initiative of the New York City-based Commonwealth Fund is accepting Letters of Inquiry (LOI) for projects designed to improve the quality of primary healthcare in the U.S.

The program makes grants to:

  • Collect and dissemination information on patients and their healthcare experiences and provide information on physician office systems and practices that are associated with high-quality patient-centered care
  • Assist primary care practices with the adoption of practices, models, and tools to help practices become more patient-centered with the ability to coordinate more closely with hospitals, specialists, and other public and private healthcare providers in their communities
  • Develop policies to encourage patient and family-centered care in medical homes


The Commonwealth Fund is going to support projects in several areas to make medical homes more successful and to enable resource sharing. One of the future directions is to integrate the medical home with the medical neighborhood. The plan is going to support efforts to understand how medical homes can integrate and partner with the other providers in their community. This can include integrating with specialists, hospitals, and mental healthcare providers in both safety-net and commercial settings.

For more information, go to

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Technology Helping in Virginia

Each year, telemedicine provides secure video links to help thousands of Virginians access specialty care not available in their home communities. The University of Virginia (UVA) network serves more than 85 telemedicine locations enabling thousands of Virginians each year to access UVA physicians in more than 40 specialties without traveling to Charlottesville where the university is located.

To make it easier for residents of Southside Virginia and other rural localities to receive specialty care not readily available locally, a new state grant for $270,000 has been awarded to help patients and healthcare workers access specialists through telemedicine. (more…)

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Medicaid in Vermont

The Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) the state’s largest insurer in terms of dollars spent and the second largest in terms of covered lives, manages Medicaid, SCHIP, and other publicly funded health coverage programs in the state. In addition, DVHA is responsible for Vermont’s Blueprint for Health, for HIT strategic planning, coordination, oversight, and to implement the health benefit exchange. (more…)

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HIT in Low Resource Countries

At the recent HIMSS Annual Conference held March 3-7 in New Orleans, researchers from the Regenstrief Institute discussed and demonstrated how the Open Health Information Exchange (OpenHIE) operates in Rwanda.

OpenHIE an open source HIE using a community approach, was developed by the Regenstrief Institute, Jembi Health Systems, and Instedd. These partners initially came together to improve the national health infrastructure in Rwanda with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

To accomplish the mission, the group collaborated with the Rwandan Ministry of Health on the Rwanda Health Enterprise Architecture (RHEA) project initially supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the International Development Research Center.


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