Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bill to Establish Pilot Program

The “Healthcare Innovation Zone (HIZ) Program Act of 2009” (H.R 3134), introduced on July 8th in the House by Allyson Y. Schwartz from Pennsylvania would establish a new pilot program. The funding to be made available from HHS would use stimulus funding to award at least 10 but not more than 25 grants for not less than $250,000 or more than $1,000,000 per grant.

The HIZ as described in the legislation would be an integrated healthcare delivery network to work with local employers, community leaders, and private and governmental payers in a geographic region. The network would provide a full spectrum of care, including inpatient, outpatient, post-acute, and preventive care to all including Medicare beneficiaries. An academic medical center would be included to provide care.

The HIZ Planning Grants as provided for in the legislation would help and make it possible for eligible entities such as healthcare institutions, providers, academic medical centers, group practices, and other clinical organizations to research and prepare an HIZ model plan.

The model plan must provide:

  • A description for innovative models of care to improve quality and decrease costs
  • A provider network to provide the full spectrum of care
  • A target population to support and participate in an HIZ demonstration
  • A mechanism to provide for information sharing among the HIZ participants
  • A description of how the HIZ would incorporate the training of the next generation of physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals
  • A description of how the HIZ would be governed
  • A description of non-financial barriers to innovation that will need to be addressed
  • A process for data reporting and how to provide for annual site visits
  • A set of indicators to help track performance and the success of the HIZ model plan
  • A description of how to involve the community and external experts to monitor the success of the HIZ model
  • Payment options to address funding mechanisms and how the HIZ would distribute funds to the participants

The legislation was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and to the House Ways and Means Committee.