State awards $700,000 to URI’s Institute for Integrated Health and Innovation to evaluate health reforms

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KINGSTON, R.I. December 22, 2016 — The University of Rhode Island’s Institute for Integrated Health and Innovation has received a $700,000 grant from the State of Rhode Island to evaluate the planning and implementation of a federally funded program that tests models for innovative health care reform.

The three-year grant for “Rhode Island State Innovation Model Test Evaluation” was awarded to the Institute, part of URI’s Academic Health Collaborative, by the state’s Executive Office for Health and Human Services. Bryan Blissmer, the Institute’s interim director, said the Institute was chosen to lead this initiative based on its technical expertise and evaluation capabilities. The formation of the Academic Health Collaborative and the Institute have brought together a tremendous amount of expertise related to population health at the University and allow these types of strong partnerships to impact health across the State.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the Institute and for URI as a whole to have an impact on the health of Rhode Islanders,” Blissmer said. “The Institute can marshal the expertise at the University and among our external partners to help Rhode Island transform health care across communities and throughout the system.”

In 2014, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded Rhode Island more than $1.6 million for the first stage of the State Innovation Model, a multi-phase, multi-year initiative. The program’s goals are to “improve health system performance, increase quality of care and decrease costs for Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program beneficiaries” according to the program website. Such efforts are being implemented nationwide in pursuit of health care’s Triple Aim Initiative: Better care, smarter spending, healthier people.

The current, $20-million phase of the program tests health care payment and service delivery reform models and includes six main components: developing a population health plan, developing and refining clinical outcome measures, expanding the state’s health information technology infrastructure, establishing multidisciplinary teams of health care providers to link practices with communities they treat, identifying effective strategies to engage patients in their care and achieving alternatives to fee-for-service arrangements.

Blissmer said the Institute and colleagues from URI and Brown University will evaluate processes, systems and outcomes for all components, identifying obstacles and successes and helping the state to create effective and efficient models to transform the health system.