Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some Positive Aspects of Health Care Reform Already Making a Difference for CHRISTUS

Today, I’d like to share with you some newsletter articles from our system publications about how federal funds are supporting the work of CHRISTUS in our regions.

CHRISTUS St. Michael Awarded $1.8 Million Grant for Kids Care Collaborative

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission awarded CHRISTUS St. Michael a $1.8 million grant to implement a two-year health home (medical home) pilot program. The program, named Kids Care Collaborative, will involve a partnership between the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Area Health Education Center – Southwest, the All for Kids Clinic in Texarkana and Texarkana Community Clinic.

The Kids Care Collaborative is designed to develop best practices for many of the medical home strategies already in place at CHRISTUS St. Michael, in addition to those that it plans to implement in the future. Although intended to benefit children who are covered by Medicaid in the state of Texas, the collaborative will also serve other children and adults so that the vision of a medical home for all will be closer to becoming a reality. The pilot program will provide a medical home for participants that will also include dental and behavioral health services.

Immediate goals to be accomplished are hiring of staff, establishing collaborative relationships with medical professionals, securing office space and beginning the necessary training so that the foundation for a successful program is laid. Mike Finley, M.D., regional chief medical officer, will provide overall leadership and guidance. This is an exciting time for CHRISTUS St. Michael as it leads the effort to transform health care delivery in the Ark-La-Tex region.

$4.23 Million in Federal Incentive Funding for “Meaningful Use” Awarded to CHRISTUS Louisiana Acute Care Facilities

CHRISTUS Health received a payment of $4.23 million in federal incentive dollars for its Louisiana acute care facilities, an amount designated as a “down payment” in exchange for our commitment to meet the established criteria for “meaningful use” of electronic health records set forth in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvest Act of 2009. Our Texas facilities plan to follow the same protocol required to receive a down payment in the near future. Based on the payment formulas provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CHRISTUS incentive payments over the next five years could potentially approach $109 million.

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