CMS Announces $840 Million Initiative for Improving Quality

Late last week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its $840 million investment in a program aimed at supporting the adoption, development and sharing of quality improvement strategies to improve patient health and reduce healthcare costs.


The “Transforming Clinical Practice” initiative is a new, innovative model and one of the largest federal investments uniquely designed to support clinician practices through nationwide, collaborative and peer-based learning networks that facilitate practice transformation, according to the CMS fact sheet.


CMS noted that so far, only small-scale investments have been made to encourage collaborative peer-based learning. It estimates that only about 16 percent of Medicare and Medicaid providers currently participate in existing programs, models, and initiatives that facilitate practice transformation. “While this is an increase over previous years, there is much more work to be done,” CMS wrote. The Transforming Clinical Practice initiative is expected to support 150,000 clinicians in sharing, adapting and further developing comprehensive quality improvement strategies. (Transforming Clinical Practice: CMS Fact Sheet, October 23, 2014)


According to CMS, the initiative aligns with the criteria for innovative models outlined in the Affordable Care Act:


  • To promote broad payment and practice reform in primary care and specialty care
  • To support care coordination between providers of services and suppliers
  • To establish community-based health teams to support chronic care management
  • To improve quality and reduce cost through a collaborative of institutions that support practice transformation


CMS will award funding for two network systems under this initiative:


  • Practice Transformation Networks, peer-based learning networks designed to coach, mentor, and assist clinicians in developing core competencies specific to practice transformation. This approach allows clinician practices to become actively engaged in the transformation and ensures collaboration among a broad community of practices that creates, promotes, and sustains learning and improvement across the health care system.
  • Support and Alignment Networks, to support a system for workforce development using national and regional professional associations and public-private partnerships that are currently working in practice transformation efforts. These will especially support the recruitment of clinician practices serving small, rural and medically underserved communities and play an active role in the alignment of new learning.


Those eligible to receive funding may include eligible medical professional associations, specialty societies, and other organizations that are involved in aligning their programs with the aims of the initiative; generating evidence-based guidelines for clinical practice; promoting measurement for improvement; supporting members and practices in efforts to reduce unnecessary testing and procedures; and enhancing safety and patient and family engagement. (“CMS Launches $840 Million Initiative to Support Quality Improvement,” HFMA Weekly News, October 24, 2014)


To read the CMS fact sheet, click here.




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