17 health systems join former CMS administrator to build digital tools for Medicaid patients

Andy Slavitt
Former CMS head Andy Slavitt will lead an initiative with 17 health systems focusing on digital solutions for Medicaid patients. (American Osteopathic Association)

Some of the nation’s largest health systems are joining forces with an innovation network and an Obama health official in search of new digital tools for designed for Medicaid patients.

Seventeen health systems representing more than 280 hospitals have signed on to the Medicaid Transformation Project, an effort led by the healthcare innovation network AVIA and former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Andy Slavitt, the founder and general partner at Town Hall Ventures.

Five health systems will anchor the project: Advocate Aurora Health, Baylor Scott & White Health, Dignity Health, Geisinger and Providence St. Joseph Health. Twelve more systems, including Rush University Medical Center, Memorial Hermann Health System and Spectrum Health System have signed onto the initiative.

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To start, the new collaboration will on focus developing solutions to five key issues facing Medicaid patients: Behavioral health, women and infant care, substance use disorder and avoidable emergency department visits.

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Each system will develop a core team to identify and implement digital solutions and technologies, creating a road map to disseminate to other participants.

“The current healthcare system fails the people who need it most,” Slavitt said in a statement. “The Medicaid Transformation Project will be part of a decade-long journey leading some of the best health systems in the country. Our work will be to deepen and refine the best innovations and then implement them at an accelerated pace at providers across the country.”

Some of the organizations involved have already launched new initiatives geared towards the Medicaid population that covers 1 in every 5 Americans. Dignity Health, for example, has built a digital platform to reduce friction in patient interactions with the health system.

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“It is my hope that our collaboration will unleash new avenues that bring down barriers to care and improve the overall health of our communities,” said Lloyd Dean, President and CEO of Dignity Health.

Geisinger has launched an initiative called “Fresh Food Farmacy” that delivers healthy meals to patients with diabetes. Providence St. Joseph invested more than $1.6 billion in local communities last year, focusing on education, food insecurity and homelessness among Medicaid beneficiaries.

 “We’ve seen exciting and positive momentum with digitally enabled solutions that engage our physicians, caregivers, patients, and consumers,” added Rod Hochman, M.D., president and CEO of Providence St. Joseph Health.