Friday, July 18, 2014

Minnesota community collaboratives selected for $3.8 million in e-health awards

Minnesota’s State Innovation Model initiative awarded $3.8 million in grants to help 12 community collaboratives use e-health to promote health and improve care coordination. These grants will enable providers across different health care settings to have access to the information they need to coordinate care and keep people healthy and out of the hospital.

These awards were made possible through Minnesota’s $45 million State Innovation Model (SIM) testing grant. The Minnesota Department of Health and the Department of Human Services (DHS) jointly received this federal grant in 2013 and are using the funds to help implement the Minnesota Accountable Health Model.

“It is exciting that so many Minnesota communities are ready to take advantage of this opportunity to find new ways of using e-health to promote health and prevent disease,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. The initiative received requests for more than $12 million in funding.

The selected collaboratives received 12-month development or 12- to 18-month implementation grants ranging from about $66,000 to $897,000. The grants are designed to help care team members from clinical, community, and social service settings use health information exchange and technology to do a better job of meeting the health needs of patients and community members.

“These e-health projects are a key piece of Minnesota’s strategy to improve care and reduce costs,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “Combined with efforts such as our nation-leading Integrated Health Partnerships initiative in our Medicaid program, we are encouraging better care coordination and enabling communities to develop their own approaches.”

More than 90 percent of Minnesota’s hospitals and clinics are already using electronic health records and health information exchange and technologies to improve care. These grants are focused on furthering the benefits of e-health by connecting team members from different settings. Collaboratives needed to include at least one partner from local public health departments, long-term and post-acute care, behavioral health and social services. The collaboratives also needed at least two or more organizations participating in or planning to participate in an accountable care organization (ACO), such as Minnesota’s Integrated Health Partnerships, or similar care delivery model involving payment alternatives to fee-for-service, such as shared risk, shared savings, or total cost of care. A key goal of SIM Minnesota is to test whether ACO payment arrangements improve care and reduce costs.

The collaboratives will primarily use the funds to incorporate health information exchange into their communities, establish a connection with one of Minnesota’s six State-Certified HIE Service Providers, and hire staff dedicated to figuring out how partners can exchange medical and health information. The collaboratives can also use funds for activities including improving hand offs and transitions between settings, creating patient consent processes, and using public health data to improve outcomes.

The Minnesota Accountable Health Model will have two rounds of grant funding to support the secure exchange of medical or health-related information. The following organizations were awarded funding for round one. Federal funds account for 100 percent of the grant amounts listed below, however, the recipients of the grants are required to provide matching funds of 20 percent.

Six collaboratives were selected to receive development grants:
Integrity Health Network (Duluth) $65,885
Medica Health Plans (Minnetonka) $75,000
Fairview Foundation (Ebenezer) $75,000
White Earth Nation (White Earth) $75,000
Lutheran Social Services (St. Paul) $75,000
Wilderness Health (Two Harbors) $75,000
Six collaboratives were selected to receive implementation grants:
Touchstone Mental Health on behalf of Mission Hennepin Community Collaborative (Minneapolis) $567,597
Southern Prairie Community Care (Marshall) $897,780
Winona Health (Winona) $265,950
FQHC Urban Health Network-FUHN (St. Paul) $440,970
Northwestern Mental Health Center (Crookston) $749,323
Otter Tail County Public Health (Fergus Falls) $483,565

Visit the SIM Minnesota website for more information about the initiative.