Sunday, December 12, 2010

West Virginia Connect

Today's Charleston Gazette features an article on a new health care demonstration project, West Virginia Connect, funded by a $36 million federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant.

The article indicates that the funding will be for eight West Virginia primary care clinics to provide preventative care services to eligible health consumers for a flat $35 per month. The services will include unlimited doctor visits, immunizations and screenings, chronic disease management, and minor surgical procedures.

To be eligible to particpate a person must have a job, be between 19 and 64, and make less than $43,320 for a single person or $88,200 for a family of four. In return, participants have to let the state fold their medical data - blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. - into an anonymous 10,000-person database the state plans to use to make more informed choices as health-care reform unfolds.

The article indicates that the primary care centers involved say the project is intended to:
  • generate useful information about uninsured West Virginians and cost-effective ways to treat chronic diseases;
  • demonstrate lowered emergency room usage, hospital stays, and times when people don't show up for appointments;
  • develop an electronic patient tracking system other centers can use;create a catalogue of best practices that help people take better care of their own health;
  • help the health system get ready for 2014, when hundreds of thousands will be newly insured through federal reform.
This is the first I have heard about this demonstration project. Other than this Grantee Project Abstract at HRSA website, I was unable to find any additional information or links about the demonstration project online. The article indicates that the project is currently governed by a steering committee of the DHHR secretary, insurance commissioner, and director of the GO HELP office.

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