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In the Midwest, many states are looking for creative ways to slow the rising cost of healthcare as the demand for services increase. Increasing healthcare expenditures has forced authorities to closely examine how they deliver medical services. In the state of Michigan, government officials are trying to control medical costs while optimizing the quality of care.

Michigan health officials next year will embark on an ambitious pilot project that they hope will help mend some issues that the health care system isn’t equipped to fix alone. With this as a goal, the state has a plan to directly link physicians, hospitals and social service organizations. The goal is to remake the state’s health care system by more directly linking social service organizations to the medical delivery of healthcare, in order to more comprehensively coordinate the overall care for patients.

Funded by the Affordable Care Act and a $70 million state innovation model grant to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, the three-year experiment will eventually have providers use the program in order to help coordinate care for all patients with acute care needs and chronic diseases.

The program will start by targeting high and unnecessary use of emergency department services. By 2018, the five participating Michigan regions will choose additional goals that could include reducing obesity, depression, infant mortality, high-cost health care users and individuals with multiple chronic diseases.

Paul Valenstein, M.D., co-chairman of the State Innovation Model working group for Washtenaw and Livingston counties, said frequent ER users often have untreated conditions, do not have a regular primary care provider and generate high costs to the healthcare system. But under what is being called Michigan’s Blueprint for Health Innovation, each region will have a coordinating agency.

These new “agencies” will be responsible for managing the project that will link medical practices certified as patient-centered medical homes as well as participating hospitals in accountable systems of care. The coordinating agency will also link this information to payers and social service organizations that range from mental health providers to housing agencies.

Besides ensuring that medical and social service providers communicate with each other, a secondary goal will be to develop payment incentives and share data.

At ABCS RMS, we are closely watching these healthcare trends and mandates that are occurring across the United States. These incentives will have an impact on various healthcare practitioners, including our existing customers. We will wait and see what kind of outcomes are achieved in Michigan.

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Rising cost of healthcare, State Innovation Model