TSD Memphis

Thu04242014

Business

Aid for high-risk adults, seniors with multiple chronic illnesses

A $2,977,865 award from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Innovation Center is headed for the Memphis area for a program designed to improve medication adherence and effective medication usage among high-risk patients in the northwest and southwest sections of the city.

Over three years, the funds will support Project SAFEMED. The award goes to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), in partnership with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare's Methodist North Hospital and Methodist South Hospital, QSource, United Healthcare, BlueCross BlueShield and its BlueCare Medicaid plan, Southwest Tennessee Community College, the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, and the Bluff City, Bin Sina, and Memphis Medical Societies.

The program will serve vulnerable adults (20-64) and seniors 65-plus insured by Medicaid and/or Medicare who have multiple chronic diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and chronic lung disease, as well as polypharmacy and high-inpatient utilization. Through teams of pharmacists, nurse practitioners, pharmacy technicians, and licensed practical nurse outreach workers based in outpatient centers, the program will work with primary care physicians and local pharmacies to provide comprehensive medication management.

James E. Bailey, MD, MPH, professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine in the UTHSC College of Medicine, and an associate professor in the UTHSC Department of Preventive Medicine, will serve as the project director and Michael Ugwueke, D.H.A., CEO of Methodist North and Methodist South Hospitals, will serve as co-project director. Over a three-year period, the UTHSC program will train an estimated eight workers, while creating an estimated 11 jobs. The new positions will include outreach workers, outreach directors, and pharmacy techs.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation presents the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the country with an opportunity to improve the healthcare system for Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries. Congress created the Innovation Center under the Affordable Care Act, giving the Center the authority and direction to "test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures, while preserving or enhancing the quality of care" for those who get Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP benefits.

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