By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – One of the first multi-payer patient-centered medical home demonstration projects in the nation, the Rhode Island Chronic Care Sustainability Initiative announced plans Friday to add up to 20 new primary care medical practices in 2013, increasing coverage from about 86,000 to 190,000 Rhode Islanders.
Begun in 2008 with five primary care practices serving as patient-centered medical homes, the initiative currently has 16 primary care practices as members.
At a news conference held at the Rhode Island Foundation, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said that the expansion would help promote Rhode Island as a national leader in health care innovation. “The Rhode Island Chronic Care Sustainability Initiative has demonstrated the unique ability of the state’s health care stakeholders to come together to improve care,” he said.
The initiative, known as CSI-RI, is supported by the major health insurers in Rhode Island – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Tufts Health Plan, United Healthcare of New England and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island – and the R.I. Medicaid program.
Expansion plans call for 20 new medical practices to be added each year for the next five years, so that a projected 500,000 Rhode Islanders would have access to a patient-centered medical home by 2018.
“Today’s news of growth and results show very clearly that Rhode Islanders are realizing the immediate personal benefits of patient-centered medical homes,” said Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts, chair of the R.I. Healthcare Reform Commission. “This is about building the kind of care that will improve the health of our communities, and a system that will improve patients’ quality of care and satisfaction with that care.”
Financial support for CSI-RI comes from public and private payers in Rhode Island, along with grant funding from government and private sources. The administration of the project is supported by the Rhode Island Foundation.
“We recognize that primary care is critical to improving the quality and costs of healthcare in Rhode Island,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.
The strategy of promoting the patient-centered medical homes to improve the affordability, sustainability and predictability of Rhode Island’s health care system has also attracted support from business groups.
“Patient-centered medical homes play an important role in keeping Rhode Island employees healthy, productive and on the job,” said Don Nokes, president of Netcenergy and the R.I. Business Group on Health. “This model effectively reduces costs and improves patient outcomes, and by expanding, is helping to meet employees’ needs for high quality primary care.”