CMS launches Medicare, Medicaid innovation center

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services disclosed Tuesday it has established its Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation as part of an effort to evaluate the delivery and cost of care.

Specifically, the center, which was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will examine new ways of delivering healthcare and paying healthcare providers that can save money for Medicare and Medicaid while improving the quality of care, CMS said. One model of care under development is accountable care organizations (ACOs). These groups will consist healthcare providers that work together to coordinate care and accept responsibility for the cost and quality of care delivered to a specific population. Long-term care providers are expected to be part of ACOs.

As part of the new center's launch, CMS said Tuesday it has developed initiatives to test “health home” and “medical home” concepts. Among them: A new state plan option will allow patients enrolled in Medicaid with at least two chronic conditions to designate a provider as a “health home” that would help coordinate treatments for the patient. CMS also noted that states soon will be able to apply for contracts to support development of new models aimed at improving care and quality for dual eligibles, or those who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.