Thomson Reuters set to help with CMS' Medical Home Project

By Molly Merrill
10:08 AM

The Healthcare Business of Thomson Reuters will be helping to implement CMS' Medicare Medical Home Demonstration Project that is set to begin next year.

The project involves physician-based office practices delivering Medical Home services to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. Practices must track patients' health status, provide them with convenient access to care through the use of health information technology, and support patients' management of their conditions.

The demonstration will be conducted in up to eight states and will involve about 400 medical practices, 2,000 physicians, and 400,000 Medicare beneficiaries.

Thomson Reuters will be responsible for recruiting and qualifying physician practices to participate in the demonstration, and for monitoring beneficiary enrollment and participation.

Participating practices will provide Medical Home services to patients from January 2010 through December 2012 and receive additional monthly care management fees from CMS.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), under contract to Thomson Reuters, will conduct the practice application and qualification processes to certify that participating practices have core Medical Home capabilities. NCQA will be looking for a healthcare setting that facilitates partnerships between individual patients, and their personal physician and care that is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to assure that patients receive the best care.

The Medicare Medical Home Demonstration Project was authorized by Section 204 of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 (TRHCA), which directs the establishment of a demonstration project that examines the use of a system of targeted, accessible, continuous and coordinated family-centered medical care directed at high-need populations.

Section 204 requires that the American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee, or RUC, develop the methodology for a care management fee code for payments and a value for the code.

"The RUC has demonstrated its support for the medical home demonstration project, and the primary care physicians caring for our nation's aging population by unanimously approving the recommendations to CMS," said RUC Chair William Rich, MD.

Beginning this year, Thomson Reuters will contact medical practices in the demonstration areas and, via Web site and other outreach efforts, provide physicians with information about participating in the program.

"If this demonstration is successful, the Medical Home could become the new standard for treating the chronically ill," said Roger C. Lipitz, Center for Integrated Health Care at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Lipitz Center is using $1.7 million in grants to help medical practices in being selected for the project.

In 2010, Thomson Reuters will facilitate a two-year beneficiary enrollment period. Beneficiaries with Medicare fee-for-service coverage who live within the demonstration locations may voluntarily participate if they have at least one qualifying chronic disease.

For the duration of the project, Thomson Reuters will monitor patients' eligibility for the demonstration and visit their Medical Homes.