Care Continuum Alliance takes 'innovations' to Capitol Hill

By Mike Miliard
11:09 AM

Care Continuum Alliance will host the Population Health Innovations Showcase on Wednesday on Capitol Hill, giving policymakers an up-close look at the latest strategies and technologies aimed at population health and chronic disease management.

Care Continuum Alliance (CCA) is an industry association of more than 200 stakeholders in healthcare delivery. That includes a "wide array of organizations that provide population health services," says Tracey Moorhead, CCA's president and CEO.

"We truly represent every segment of the healthcare delivery system," she adds. "We have hospitals and health systems, physician group practices, accountable care organizations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, PBMs, wellness companies, health plans, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plans, private sector plans, disease management organizations, group purchasing organizations for hospital systems, consultants, academic medical institutions, integrated delivery systems, lab companies, you name it."

In other words, it's a broad-based coalition, convened to address about as broad a healthcare challenge as there is: "population health." It's a term that has different meanings, depending on who you ask. 
"Our definition is based on our population health management framework, which identifies five core components, or strategies, for effective population health management," says Moorhead. "Those components are population identification, assessment, stratification, engagement/intervention and outcomes measurement. The Care Continuum Alliance has focused in the last seven years on identifying best practices, developing definitions, and establishing measure sets and methodologies around each of those five components."

[See also: Care Continuum Alliance spotlights four core strengths of ACOs .]

At the Population Health Innovations Showcase, which will be held in the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, CCA will show members of Congress, their staffs other federal and state officials how technology is being put to use cutting costs and improving care delivery across the population.

Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, (D-PA13) and Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, (R-MN3) will be there in addition to an array of vendors, including Inovalon, Active Health Management, Healthrageous, Health Diagnostics Laboratory, Health Dialog, Mirixa, Partners HealthCare Center for Connected Health, Qualcomm Life, United Health Group, U.S. Preventive Medicine.

Ken Yale is vice president of clinical solutions for ActiveHealth Management, which will be demonstrating its clinical decision support, patient portal and provider workflow technologies at the Innovations Showcase.
He says now is the right moment for this kind of event. "The Affordable Care Act highlighted many innovative healthcare services that have been developed and implemented over the years, but were mainly used by employers and other payers, and not generally available or in demand by other stakeholders in the healthcare system," he says. "With the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, many other stakeholders have become interested in population health services, and Congress is interested in learning more."
The aim, he says, is to update "our friends in government on the latest innovations we have created, as well as new developments underway, to help raise awareness and understanding of solutions and strategies to support sustainable healthcare models. In addition, we are briefing new staff on our core solutions and how we collaborate with governments to improve quality and patient satisfaction and make care more affordable and accessible."

"We believe population health management is the foundation for improved healthcare delivery," says Moorhead. "Obviously there is a great deal of interest in improving healthcare quality. There's a great deal of interest in improving and enabling care coordination. And if you look at the core components of the Affordable Care Act, you will see that the basis for those components really focuses on population health management strategies."

[See also: 8 key issues for population health management in 2012.]

Speaking of the Affordable Care Act, did last month's Supreme Court decision upholding the healthcare law do anything to help Care Continuum Alliance's cause?

"To be honest, the components of the Affordable Care Act that impacted our industry were not those under consideration by the Supreme Court," says Moorhead. "The components that were so important to us were those around the medical loss ratio that, for the first time, recognized the value of population health management strategies through the new definition of activities that improve healthcare quality. Where health information technology, data analysis, assessment and stratification were all recognized as important expenditures within the medical loss ratio.

"Another core component for us was the expansion of wellness programs, and the recognition for the first time of the value of wellness and prevention, whether it was in employer and private sector populations or in state Medicaid programs. The renewed focus on wellness and prevention was a core component for us in expanding availability of population health management services."

Finally, says Moorhead, "the delivery system reforms we see in patient-centered medical home models, in accountable care organizations, in other quality measures such as the star ratings program, these programs cannot be effectively executed without population health management strategies at their core."

Luckily, if the Supreme Court decision remains a highly-divisive lightning rod, initiatives such as health IT and wellness efforts remain bipartisan, and should draw equal interest from Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

"Yes, we are a nonpartisan organization," says Moorhead. "We do not have a PAC. Our work is based on our research, and we try to be very evidence-focused and evidence-based in all of our work."