Independence Blue Cross (Independence) announced today that it has awarded six Clinical Care Innovation Grants (CCI Grants) to local health systems to support projects aimed at improving the quality and delivery of health care. The health systems receiving grants include Jefferson Health, Temple Health, Penn Medicine, and Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic.
“We are committed to investing in our community and are always looking for ways to improve the care our members receive. Supporting these grants is just one way that we work collaboratively with our excellent network of health care providers. This engaging and dynamic work we do with them helps to ensure our members receive the highest quality care and the best experience, at the most affordable cost. We’re excited to see how the work these grants support will continue to improve the health of our community,” said Rodrigo Cerdá, MD, MPH, senior vice president of Health Services and chief medical officer at Independence.
The six projects awarded grants include:
- “Telehealth-Enabled Integrated Palliative Care for People with Dementia” led by Brooke Worster, MD, FACP, Director of Division of Supportive Oncology at Jefferson Health. This project uses a telehealth and web-based advanced care planning model to help reduce barriers that older people with dementia, who live in an urban setting, face when trying to access palliative care. The hope is that the model will improve health and wellness at a population level and potentially reduce overall cost of care.
- “Implementing Care Optimization for Person’s Emotions, Mood, and Other Related Experiences” (I COPE MORE) led by Temple Health faculty physicians David O’Gurek, MD, and Rachael Clark, MD, and Lakisha Sturgis, of the Temple Center for Population Health, LLC. This project focuses on integrating behavioral and medical care using a behavioral health screening tool. The screening tool helps to quickly identify at-risk patients, streamline access to care, establish a foundation for value-based care, and provide treatment planning and care coordination. The goals of this project are to measure the success of the screening tool, identify links between behavioral and social factors and chronic disease, and evaluate the impact of socio-behavioral health integration on diabetes management.
- “Healing at Home” led by Kirstin Leitner, MD, assistant professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn Medicine and her colleagues Lori Christ, MD, assistant professor of Pediatrics; Laura Scalise, MSN, RN, nurse manager; and Emily Seltzer, senior innovation manager at the Center for Digital Health. The project is focused on a system that uses an artificial intelligence-guided chatbot to provide 24/7 assistance to new mothers with questions about their babies or their own needs during the “fourth trimester.” The goals are to expand access to the system and its mental health monitoring and support offerings, and to evaluate what benefits it provides.
- “Pregnancy Early Access Center (PEACE): Scaling a Value-Based Model for Urgent Pregnancy Care” led by Courtney Schreiber, MD, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chief of Family Planning at Penn Medicine. This project focuses on a model that provides care for the early stages of pregnancy, including for miscarriages, which take place in one in every five pregnancies. It places a special focus on equitable follow-up care for those who experience miscarriage, especially among those who seek care at emergency departments (95 percent of whom now receive no continuing care).
- “CareConnect Warmline: Substance use Navigation and Low-Barrier Treatment to Reduce Disparities” led by Jeanmarie Perrone, MD, professor of Emergency Medicine and director of the Penn Medicine Center for Addiction Medicine and Policy. This project aims to decrease barriers to rapid access of buprenorphine (a medication that soothes cravings for opioids in the brain) for majority Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities in Philadelphia. It includes a telemedicine-based outreach and navigation service that guides people through various aspects of substance use treatment.
- “A Comprehensive Caregiver Support Model for the Seriously Ill” led by Naomi McMackin, MD, regional chief medical officer of the Clinically Integrated Network for Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic. This project aims to assess patient and caregiver needs and interventions while also addressing downward health trajectory with serious illness conversations in the home setting. The project uses a model that engages health care partners across the care continuum (e.g., acute case management, spiritual care, palliative care, etc.) and innovates the care that is delivered.
This is the second year Independence has awarded CCI Grants, and already there are positive results being reported. For example, Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic’s primary care model Achieving Lasting Improvements Via Engagement is making progress with patient engagement to control chronic kidney disease. Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic’s model has shown that in patients who received nutritionist consultation, there was a significant decrease in body mass index (BMI) when they had at least two measurements. The decrease was due to better nutrition, exercise, medication management, and education about their disease. Patients who did not have a decrease in BMI were counseled.
Health systems and large specialty groups in the Independence network that are currently enrolled in a value-based care program are eligible to participate in the CCI Grants process. Each entity is permitted up to three submissions a year. For more information, visit the CCI Grants website on ibx.com.