CMS frees up $275 million for state coordinated care initiatives

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States eager to test payment reform models for federal health programs can apply for awards totaling $275 million, courtesy of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

With funding authorized by the Affordable Care Act, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will provide $225 million for Model Testing Awards to help selected states design and test multipayer systems that include commercial, employee sponsored and public health plans. Arizona's Mercy Care Plan is one example of this model.

CMS is devoting another $50 million for 25 states who apply for Model Design Awards. The awards will help supplement existing programs currently in operation, such as accountable care organizations.

Long-term care facilities stand to benefit from such initiatives as they rely partly on partnerships between acute and post-acute providers that work together to lower costs, and coordinate care for dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. However, a recent study expressed concern programs targeting hospital readmissions may make outcomes worse for seniors.