VHA Inc.

August 15, 2012 14:00 ET

VHA Inc. Launches Center for Applied Healthcare Studies

Collaborative Think Tank Includes Industry's Top Experts to Address Critical Health Care Issues

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - Aug 15, 2012) - To address the complexities resulting from sweeping health care reform, including value-based payment models and reduced reimbursements, VHA Inc., the national health care network, today announced the launch of its VHA Center for Applied Healthcare Studies. A collaborative think tank, the Center is comprised of top industry experts in the areas of safety, quality, delivery models, economics and finance, who will work with VHA and its member organizations to develop, pilot and evaluate innovative approaches addressing high quality, affordable care delivery. 

Industry advisory group leaders include:

  • Harlan M. Krumholz, MD - The Harold H. Hines Jr. professor of medicine (Cardiology) and professor of investigative medicine and public health (Health Policy); director, Clinical Scholars program; director, Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation.
  • David B. Nash, MD, MBA - Dean, Jefferson School of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA. 
  • Mary D. Naylor, PhD, FAAN, RN - The Marian S. Ware professor in gerontology and director of the New Courtland Center for Transitions and Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
  • Meredith B. Rosenthal, PhD - Professor of health economics and policy, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health.
  • Susan Edgman-Levitan, PA -  Executive director of the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Associate in Health Policy, Harvard Medical School.

VHA advisory group representatives are:

  • Keith Kosel, PhD, MHSA, MBA - Vice president and executive director, VHA Center for Applied Healthcare Studies.
  • Steve Miff, PhD - Senior vice president, VHA IMPERATIV™, VHA Inc.
  • Colleen Risk, MHA - Executive vice president, member networks and human resources, VHA Inc.
  • Patrice E. Sweeney - Area senior vice president and executive officer, VHA Central, LLC.

"Our members are progressing well on their journey to necessary financial, clinical and operational improvements that will be important to the future of quality health care," explained Keith Kosel. "The Center will play an important role in developing and testing evidence-based approaches to some of the industry's most challenging issues that systems can assimilate seamlessly and quickly."

The Center is organized into two divisions: Policy and Research, and Demonstrations.

Policy and Research focuses on understanding the environmental and governmental drivers of future health care models. The studies will be accomplished via VHA-directed and VHA-sponsored research studies covering topics such as bundled payments, population health, care coordination, and patient engagement and experience.

To ensure relevant insight, the Center will maintain relationships with national health care organizations tasked with setting standards and policy tied to health care reform. The Center will work closely with VHA's Washington, DC-based public policy group, providing a focal point for understanding the scope, structure, participants and policies related to current and emerging health care legislation. Kosel said, "Keeping close tabs on what is happening in Washington will help us anticipate trends and events that affect important areas for research such as episode-based payments and population health management."

The Demonstration division focuses on delivering both large- and small-scale tests of change within VHA's hospital membership. These demonstrations are linked to national initiatives through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as with commercial payers or health plans. Early projects will include testing new payment models such as episode-based payments and new delivery models such as patient-centered medical home-neighborhoods.

Currently, VHA is engaged in two demonstration projects that are housed in the Center.

First is a clinical improvement collaborative sponsored by the CMS Partnership for Patients Initiative. Last fall, CMS awarded VHA funding to be one of 26 Hospital Engagement Networks charged with reducing hospital-acquired conditions by 40% by the end of 2013, compared with 2010, and cutting readmissions by 20% during the same period. Working with 200+ participating hospitals, VHA's HEN employs proprietary tools including its Rapid Adoption Network® Contextualist methodology, peer networks and leading practices to drive culture change and address the CMS contract goals.

Second is a three-year grant project sponsored by The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation that focuses on expanding the patient-centered medical home concept into a neighborhood, ultimately connecting acute-care hospitals with primary care, specialty and subspecialty practices in 16 communities nationwide. This project is a collaborative partnership between VHA Inc.; TransforMED, a not-for-profit subsidiary of the American Academy of Family Physicians; and Phytel, a leading population health improvement technology company.

About VHA Inc.
Based in Irving, TX, VHA Inc. is a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to drive maximum savings in the supply chain arena, set new levels of clinical performance, and identify and implement best practices to improve operational efficiency and clinical outcomes. Since 1977, VHA has leveraged its expertise in analytics, contracting, consulting and networks to help members achieve their operational, clinical and financial objectives. In 2011, VHA delivered record savings and value of $1.9 billion to members. VHA serves more than 1,350 hospitals and more than 30,000 non-acute care providers nationwide, coordinating delivery of its programs and services through its 15 regional offices. VHA has been ranked as one of the best places to work in healthcare by Modern Healthcare since the publication introduced this list in 2008.

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