HHS Secretary Announces Nearly $700 Million For Wellness Care

By John Lavitt 10/23/15

The move marks one of the largest federal investments to support clinicians.

Sylvia Burwell
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As part of the Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative last month. The initiative provides $685 million in awards to 39 national and regional healthcare networks and supporting organizations.

The goal is to help equip more than 140,000 clinicians with the tools and support needed to improve quality of care, increase patients’ access to information, and reduce costs. As one of the largest federal investments designed to support clinicians, the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative will have an impact on all 50 states through collaborative and peer-based learning networks.

“Supporting doctors and other healthcare professionals change the way they work is critical to improving quality and spending our healthcare dollars more wisely,” said Secretary Burwell. “These awards will give patients more of the information they need to make informed decisions about their care and give clinicians access to information and support to improve care coordination and quality outcomes.”

For example, the American Board of Family Medicine will work with more than 25,000 family physicians serving 50 million or more patients to help clinicians and patients navigate the changing healthcare system and reduce disparities in healthcare.

The goal is to move toward a wellness-based approach to managing care. Additionally, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) will receive funds to train a network of practicing psychiatrists throughout the United States in the skills needed to support primary care practices in the implementation of integrated behavioral health programs.

The efforts of the initiative will accomplish the following and more:

  1. Help providers give patients better tools for communication;
  2. Provide dedicated coaches to better manage chronic disease and offer preventive care;
  3. Offer real-time notification alerts for clinicians caring for high-risk patients;
  4. Improve screening and treatment of mental health and substance abuse across multiple care settings;
  5. Centralize data reporting with technical assistance;
  6. Promote patient, provider and community engagement.

Part of a comprehensive strategy advanced by the ACA, the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative is designed to foster new levels of coordination, continuity, and integration of care. The greater goal is a transition from volume-driven systems to value-based, patient-centered, healthcare services.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.