December 14, 2011

Whitehouse Hosts Medicare Official in RI to Highlight State’s Health Care Leadership

Providence, RI – This week, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) hosted Dr. Richard J. Gilfillan, Acting Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, for a visit to Coastal Medical in Providence. Gilfillan toured the facility and met with Coastal Medical staff and Rhode Island health officials to learn about their efforts to improve primary care for patients. He then joined Whitehouse for a meeting with the Rhode Island Quality Institute to discuss the Health Care Innovation Challenge, a funding opportunity established by the Affordable Care Act.

“Rhode Island has long been a leader in health care innovation,” said Whitehouse. “From our efforts to expand the use of electronic health records and electronic prescribing, to our pursuit of quality reforms and best practices, to deploying new payment models that encourage better care and health, Rhode Island has a lot to be proud of. I was pleased to show Dr. Gilfillan some of the innovative work being done in Rhode Island, and thank him for his presentation on the Innovation Challenge and other opportunities of the CMS Innovation Center.”

The Health Care Innovation Challenge will award grants to organizations committed to the implementation of health care delivery system reform. The goal of the program is to improve care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Innovation Challenge is funded through the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Whitehouse has been a leader in the health care delivery system reform effort since his time as Rhode Island’s Attorney General. In 2001, then Attorney General Whitehouse founded the Rhode Island Quality Institute, a collaboration focused on producing significant, measurable improvements in health care quality, safety, and value in the state. Since elected to Congress, Whitehouse has also been one of the most vocal advocates of health information technology in the Senate. He helped secure new investments in health IT in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including a provision to establish the Regional Extension Center Program. Whitehouse was also a strong advocate for the inclusion of delivery system reforms in the Affordable Care Act.

In September, Whitehouse wrote to President Obama to urge him to protect Medicare benefits by prioritizing delivery system reform in the Administration’s efforts to reduce health care costs.


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