February 21, 2013

Maine gets $33 million for health care reforms

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The U.S. Health and Human Services announced Thursday it has awarded $33 million to support healthcare reform efforts in Maine over the next three-and-a-half years.

The grant is part of a $300 million round of awards to six states that are working to improve the quality and lower health care costs through new payment models and other reforms. Along with Maine, the other states to receive awards are Arkansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont.

The six states will use funds to test multi-payer payment-and-service delivery models. These include ways of paying for care that rewards medical providers when they keep patients healthy and out of hospitals as opposed to the existing model in which medical providers make most of their profits from procedures and hospitalizations.

Models being tested in Maine include accountable care organizations that set quality standards and publicly report how well they meet them and enhanced primary care, which includes financial incentives to keep patients from needing expensive tests and procedures.

The federal grant will allow Maine organizations to continue developing the models and to measure their effectiveness. Future grants will depend on the performance of the efforts.

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