Categorized | Government, News

State to expand healthcare services through technology investments

MEDIA RELEASE

Honolulu – Governor Abercrombie and Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Patricia McManaman today announced plans to expand access to a new model of health care delivery that will focus on patient care and technology.

The new model, referred to as “patient-centered healthcare homes” or “medical homes,” enhance access to physicians and improve coordination of services through technology, such as electronic health records.

“This is the future of health care delivery. Our initial investment in and long term commitment to implement medical homes will improve the quality of care for our people and save the state significant money in the long run,” Governor Abercrombie said. “We will be treating the person and not just the disease or condition.”

Healthcare homes facilitate increased communication and coordination between providers, which is particularly useful for patients suffering from chronic conditions. The expansion underscores the state’s efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of Medicaid services through innovation, even as fiscal difficulties necessitate cuts in other areas.

“Healthcare home models will make our Medicaid system more proactive in addressing community health issues through innovation, collaboration, and cutting-edge technology,” McManaman said.

The programs will also qualify the state for $9 in federal funding for every $1 spent on implementation over the first two years. The new programs are slated to begin in January 2012, about two years before key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will take effect.

The federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the additional funding, has emphasized the benefits provided by strengthening the patient-physician relationship and a shift towards whole-person health rather than focusing primarily on the treatment of illness.

Richard Bettini, Chief Executive Officer of Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, which serves over 16,000 Medicaid patients, also supports the healthcare home model.

“We need to make sure, as we seek efficiencies in our Medicaid programs, that we have a vision of a long-term solution that seeks better value from our Medicaid expenditures,” Bettini said. “This includes maximizing non-State revenues and investing in well coordinated primary care services designed to serve complex patients in a community healthcare home setting. Real savings can be found in providing accessible alternatives to inappropriate or unnecessary hospital admissions.”

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