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Rhode Island to partner with Advisory Board on health care innovation initiative

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WASHINGTON – As part of the “Healthy Rhode Island” initiative, Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts, chair of the R.I. Healthcare Reform Commission, announced Tuesday that the state has partnered with The Advisory Board Co. to focus on health care innovation.

The initiative - Healthy Rhode Island: A Plan for Rhode Island’s Health Care System of the Future - is described as a “major public effort to re-imagine the way the state keeps its residents healthy.” Healthy Rhode Island is the federally supported State Innovation Model initiative, which was announced in February

For the next six months, health care providers, insurers, consumers, government leaders and community organizations will be led in a series of intensive working groups by health system research company The Advisory Board.

“The fact that tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders will have access to affordable health coverage in 2014 is an achievement in which we should all be proud,” Roberts said in prepared remarks, adding: “However, coverage is just the beginning.

“In order to have a sustainable, high quality health care system in Rhode Island, we must change how we provide health care and how we pay for it,” she said. “At the same time, we must also develop strategies to maintain and improve the health of Rhode Islanders.”

The result of the collaboration, according to Roberts, will be the State Healthcare Innovation Plan, developed to chart the way from a health care system based on the volume of services provided to one based on the value of services provided.

According to a news release, the plan will identify reforms for how health care in Rhode Island in paid for and delivered, as well as opportunities in health care policy and regulations to attain the plan’s objectives.

The release added that the plan will also examine the role of community-based organizations, which have not been traditional health care providers, but which “have a great impact on the health of a community.”

“We are already seeing the move away from traditional ‘fee for service’ with some of our providers, and where that is happening, patients are happier, health outcomes are better, and cost trends are moderating,” Roberts said. “Now is the time to capitalize on the opportunity, with the support of the federal government, to set our health system on the path to the future.”

The Healthy Rhode Island project is supported by a $1.6 million grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

The project said it selected The Advisory Board as a partner because of its “extensive experience in all subject areas of health care reform.” The release added that The Advisory Board has an “industry-leading reputation for helping hospital, health system and physician clients navigate and succeed in health reform activities.”

“Increasing costs and the demand for quality care continue to dictate the transformation in health care payment and delivery systems,” Dennis Weaver, chief medical officer and executive vice president, Southwind at The Advisory Board Co., said in a statement. “Development and implementation of a stronger, more effective health care model will ensure Rhode Islanders receive the highest quality, affordable care in the years to come.”

The Advisory Board’s health care management and consulting services program Southwind will partner with Rhode Island-based Grinnell Appreciative Consultive and Milliman, an industry-leading actuarial firm to develop a State health Care Innovation plan.

According to a release, the plan will be “heavily derived” from conversations with Rhode Island stakeholders and The Advisory Board Co.’s research and data analysis.

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