FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Innovation Center Launch Is Good News for Patients, Leading Consumer Advocate Says

Statement of Debra L. Ness, Campaign for Better Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — November 16, 2010 — Today the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched its Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center). Created by the Affordable Care Act, it will examine new ways of delivering health care and paying health care providers that can improve the quality of care and save money for Medicare and Medicaid. CMS also announced new demonstration projects that will support efforts to better coordinate care and improve health outcomes for patients. National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra L. Ness, President, who leads the Campaign for Better Care, made the following statement at the launch:

"Good morning. I am Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families. In that capacity, I lead the Campaign for Better Care — a powerful new Campaign that has brought more than 160 local, state and national organizations together for the first time to work on the very issues the new CMS Innovation Center is tackling. For those of us who are working on better coordination, better care and better outcomes for patients, today’s launch of the Innovation Center is good news indeed. It will help us realize the promise of reform.

At the Campaign for Better Care, we talk to consumers all day, every day. They tell us that they are struggling to navigate the current fragmented, uncoordinated system. They say they want to end duplicate tests, medication errors, preventable readmissions, and other problems that harm patients and raise costs. They want coordinated care that they can afford. They want new models of care that will mean their doctors and care team members talk to each other, needed information is at their fingertips, and transitions from hospital to home or other settings don’t put them in jeopardy.

In short, they want what CMS is launching today. These goals are shared by all of us — Republicans and Democrats, private business and government, patients who are young and old, rich and poor.

I am so encouraged by what I have heard this morning — that major new projects are being launched in communities around the country that will bring care coordination to people with Medicare and Medicaid coverage who struggle with multiple chronic conditions. The message to them is simple: Help is coming to those who need it most.

But if we want to realize the promise of today’s launch, we have to be sure to build the new models right — right from the very beginning. That means ensuring that consumers and patients are at the table every step of the way. We can’t assume that, if we build it, they will come. We have to engage patients so they will embrace what we create. I am encouraged that we are starting off right, with strong consumer representation at today’s meeting.

If these new models are going to work, we also need to build in strong measures of accountability for enhancing quality, improving patient experience, and reducing costs. We need to build a strong foundation of primary care and work with local communities. We must recognize their differences, build on their strengths, encourage innovation, and learn from their experiences.

And finally, if we want to truly transform care, we need real partnerships and alignment across payers, providers and patients. We need all payers participating and we need aligned incentives and shared data across the public and private sectors.

The initiatives announced today will begin to give more than a million people the care coordination they need. Starting now, the Innovation Center is charting a path to a new kind of care — the kind of coordinated, patient-centered, affordable care every American deserves. Thank you."

 

The Campaign for Better Care is working to protect vulnerable older patients with multiple health problems and ensure they can access well-coordinated, quality health care. The Campaign for Better Care is led by the National Partnership for Women & Families, Community Catalyst, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the National Health Law Program — and funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies.