Health IT is the focus of a new four year project initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A CMS official toldInformationWeek Healthcare that the organizations are looking for ways to connect long-term-care facilities electronically with other healthcare providers and reduce avoidable hospitalizations.
“All selected organizations will have on-site staff to partner with the existing nursing facility staff to provide preventive services as well as improve assessments and management of medical conditions,” said the CMS announcement. “Participants will also work toward more seamless beneficiary transitions of care, and leverage use of emerging technologies, among many other activities.”
CMS’ solicitation of proposals for the project stipulates that no grantee can spend more than 10% of its total award for health IT equipment and that the agency must approve the purchase of any IT-related gear that costs over $5,000. In addition, the initiatives proposed that nurses and nurse practitioners work to improve the monitoring and care of patients within the long-term-care facilities. Currently, there is little exchange of electronic data between acute-care hospitals and post-acute-facilities.
The CMS estimates that 45% of the readmissions of Medicare and Medicaid patients receiving care in nursing homes could be avoided. In 2011, total costs for these readmissions were estimated to be between $7 billion and $8 billion.
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