Health Innovation Highlights: September 27, 2017

Full Edition




A message from Ann Hwang, MD

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate would not be voting on the Graham-Cassidy bill, the Senate’s latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut the Medicaid program. This announcement brought a sigh of relief to many of us. I am so grateful to all who worked tirelessly to stop this bill that would have hurt so many people who are in need of care.

We expect that efforts to erode health care coverage will continue. And even in the context of attacks on health care coverage, we need to continue to improve the way health care is delivered. To that end, we are excited to announce the launch of a new two-year program, Consumer Advocacy for Transformation (CAT), which supports eight state-based consumer advocacy organizations. The grants will support creative projects – unique to each grantee – that are part of a larger effort to increase health care value by ensuring access to care, improving health outcomes and lowering costs, especially for populations with disproportionately poor health outcomes. We believe that the strong voice of consumers and communities – particularly those with complex health and social needs – is essential for realizing an effective, person-centered health system and we look forward to supporting these organizations in their important work.

Updates From Our Rhode Island Partners

Maureen Maigret of the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island, a Center partner, spoke at a press conference last week on the Graham-Cassidy bill, held by Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse. Her comments focused on the devastating impacts this bill would have had on older adults in the state. Video of the event is available here. Maureen also has contributed  two recent articles, one co-authored with a Rhode Island College researcher, to a policy series entitled, “Supporting People as They Age in Community,” published by the Rhode Island Academic Collaborative. The articles focus on two key social determinants of health for older adults aging in community settings, transportation and housing.

Another of the Center’s Rhode Island partners, Geriatrics Provider Advocate Martha Watson, presented a training for nurses on Pain Management in Older Adults.

We’re Hiring a State Advocacy Manager

The Center is seeking a State Advocacy Manager to provide technical assistance to our state partners and to be part of the Center team.  Please click here for details.


CHRONIC Care Act Passes Senate and Moves to the House

On Tuesday evening, Sept. 26, the Senate passed S.870, Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care, known as the CHRONIC Care Act of 2017. The bill includes a range of programs aimed at improving how Medicare pays for care for people with chronic conditions with the goal of lowering Medicare costs in the long run. The bill was first introduced last year and was the product of a bipartisan Senate Finance Committee working group led by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). The Center submitted comments to this Chronic Care Working Group in January 2016, and a letter of support to the Finance Committee after the bill's introduction. The bill now moves to the House for consideration. An article in The Hill provides more information.

CMS Signals New View on Medicare and Medicaid Innovation; Issues Request for Information

In a Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required) op-ed last week, CMS Administrator Seema Verma signaled a new direction for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). Created by the Affordable Care Act, CMMI tests new approaches or “models” to pay for and deliver health care to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Since its creation, CMMI has launched dozens of new delivery and payment models impacting over 18 million individuals in every state across the country. In her op-ed, Administrator Verma indicated she would take CMMI in a new direction: one that decreases the amount of CMS oversight of new approaches and increases consumer responsibility to shop for services and to reduce costs. CMS also released last week a Request for Information seeking ideas for launching innovative ideas that fit with this vision. RFI responses are due on Nov. 20, 2017.

Updated Tool: Mapping Medicare Disparities

The CMS Office of Minority Health recently updated its Mapping Medicare Disparities (MMD) tool. The tool provides a user-friendly way to explore and better understand disparities in chronic diseases and allows users to: 1) visualize health outcome measures at a national, state or county level; 2) explore health outcome measures by age, race and ethnicity, and sex; 3) compare differences between two geographic locations (e.g., benchmark against the national average); and 4) compare differences between two racial and ethnic groups within the same geographic area.

The MMD tool contains health outcome measures for disease prevalence, costs, hospitalization for 55 specific chronic conditions, emergency department utilization, readmissions rates, mortality, preventable hospitalizations and preventive services.

POLITICO Special Edition Surveys Issues of Aging in America

POLITICO has published a special report in its “The Agenda” policy series entitled “Aging in America.” The report, presented by The John A. Hartford Foundation, covers a range of pressing issues and trends related to the rapid demographic changes facing our country. Of particular interest in the area of health care delivery is “Senior Medicine: When ‘More’ Isn’t Better” that highlights The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s “Choosing Wisely initiative,” and the pushback it and similar programs have encountered in trying to give moderated and appropriate care to older adults. “Hospice in Crisis” looks at stresses emerging in the hospice provider sector as more for-profit hospice agencies and investor-owned chains proliferate, changing the original model and care environment.

New Brief on Partnerships Between Medicaid Agencies and SHIPs

The Integrated Care Resource Center (ICRC) published a new issue brief describing opportunities for Medicaid agencies to collaborate with State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs). The brief highlights approaches used by three states – Arizona, Massachusetts and Texas – in which SHIPs and Medicaid agencies have worked together to educate Medicare-Medicaid enrollees on new care delivery options. State experiences working with SHIPs reveal two key tips to make these linkages work: (1) maintain open dialogue and information sharing between state Medicaid agencies and SHIP partners; and (2) recognize SHIPs as a valuable existing resource for Medicaid agencies developing new integrated programs.



The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released the latest enrollment numbers for the state’s duals demonstration program, MI Health Link.

South Carolina

South Carolina’s dual eligible demonstration project, Health Connections Prime, released its latest program update. The updates include general information about the program, the current statistics on access to care, current member profile and Comprehensive Assessment completion statistics. The update is available here.


Sunday, Oct. 1 – Early Bird Registration Deadline for Putting Care at the Center 2017, the second annual conference presented by The National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs. The conference will be held Nov. 15-17 in Los Angeles, with pre-conference workshops taking place Nov. 13-15. This year’s conference is co-hosted by Kaiser Permanente. 

Monday, Oct. 16 (12-2 p.m. Eastern) Webinar: State of the Science: Long-Term Services and Supports and Caregiving for Adults Aging with Disability (Session 1), presented by The Lewin Group with support from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

Please register for the webinar. 

Wednesday, Oct. 18 (12-2 p.m. Eastern) Webinar: State of the Science: Autonomy and Access for Adults Aging with Disability (Session 2), presented by The Lewin Group with support from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

 Please register for the webinar. 

Friday, Oct. 20 (12-2 p.m. Eastern) Webinar: State of the Science: Health Care Policy, and Implications for Adults Aging with Long-Term Disability (Session 3), presented by The Lewin Group with support from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

 Please register for the webinar.