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  • July 26 2012

    In November of 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center announced a Health Care Innovation Challenge offering one billion dollars in funding to applicants who could implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), particularly those with the highest health care needs.

    The University of Missouri (MU) was pleased to learn that, out of 3,000 applications, it was one of 107 chosen for a CMS Health Care Innovation Award. The $13.3 million grant was awarded to MU for its new health care model proposal titled LIGHT2: Leveraging Information Technology to Guide High Tech High Touch Care.

    The LIGHT2 model will provide enhanced primary care to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries receiving primary care within the University of Missouri Health System. The model will use advanced health information technology, evidence-based treatment planning, and a specialized workforce to coordinate care for both patients and the existing health care team. Through support for disease self-management, improved delivery system design, focus on preventive care, and better decision-making tools, the intervention will strengthen primary care, reduce specialist referrals and the need for acute care, and improve patients’ health.

    The High Touch component of LIGHT2 is comprised of a specialized workforce that will be deployed in the primary care setting. This new workforce is made up of health care coordinators and health information analysts (HIA). The HIA role is a new and innovative type of health care worker that will focus directly on the health status and care needs of a specific patient population. HIAs will be able to use LIGHT2 to mine data that can elucidate the health care needs of their assigned patient population that would otherwise remain obscure to providers.

    The High Tech components of LIGHT2 draw from TI Living Lab innovations, Cerner solutions, and University of Missouri development. Through an innovative approach, these solutions will form a comprehensive technology suite that empowers patients with data and information to proactively manage their care. It also enables providers to continuously improve their care delivery.

    As the largest grant ever awarded to MU School of Medicine, this award provides a tremendous opportunity for us to transform the health and care of Missourians and propel MU Health Care to the vanguard of primary care delivery. The estimated 3-years savings of the LIGHT2 health care model is almost $17 million, and the program will train an estimated 420 workers and create an estimated 30 jobs including a project coordinator, a business manager, three health information analysts and 18 health care coordinators.

    Jerry Parker, PhD, is associate dean for research at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, co-director of the MU Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, co-principal investigator for MU's Coulter Translational Partnership Program, and a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. He previously served as principal investigator and director for the Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, as well as associate chief of staff for research and development at the Truman Veterans Hospital. At the national level, Dr. Parker has served on the NIH National Advisory Board for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and was a member of the NIH Consensus Panel on Traumatic Brain Injury. He also has served on national peer review panels for the NIH, National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, VA and the Arthritis Foundation.

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