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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

West Virginia and DHHR Develop Plan to Transform Health Care System in State

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia University School of Public Health today released a major plan to improve the state’s health care system.

The DHHR and WVU School of Public Health developed the plan over 18 months through a $1.94 million grant from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. The State Innovation Model (SIM) grant program provides funding for states to facilitate health care transformation, with the ultimate goal of developing and implementing plans to improve the quality of care and reduce costs for consumers.

“After a year and a half of hard work and the involvement of countless stakeholders, I believe we have accomplished the goal of the SIM grant,” DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling said. “While stakeholders might not always agree on the approach to take regarding health care transformation, they are all dedicated to collaborating for the greater good of West Virginians and improving our health care system.”

In the plan, the DHHR, WVU School of Public Health and other partners are recommending the establishment of the West Virginia Health Transformation Accelerator, an independent nonprofit entity to coordinate state and federal health care transformation activities and resources to support a value-based versus a fee-for-service payment system.

“The Accelerator would provide a vehicle for public and private health care collaboration,” WVU School of Public Health Interim Dean and SIM grant principal investigator Dr. Jeffrey Coben said.  “It will allow us, as a state, to continue focusing on health care system transformation and bring the SIM plan to fruition.”

The WVU School of Public Health organized and managed the SIM plan process on behalf of the DHHR.

“West Virginia’s SIM plan strikes a balance between what is achievable for health care transformation in our state given pressing financial challenges and resource constraints and the vision we must have to address our health problems,” Ms. Bowling added.

The SIM grant program originally intended for states that successfully developed a plan to apply for implementation funding. While additional funds are currently not being offered by CMS, the state will pursue such money if it becomes available and use the SIM plan as a guide.