Green Mountain Care Board applies for $60 million federal grant for data analysis, payment models

October 13, 2012

At the end of last month, the Green Mountain Care Board submitted an application for a $60 million State Innovation Model (SIM) grant to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

The grant would give the state the opportunity to build its data capacity and test new payment reform models that are aimed at cutting costs and improving the value of care — not necessarily creating a single-payer system.

According to Anya Rader Wallack, chair of the Green Mountain Care Board, these funds would enable the state to build the infrastructure necessary to measure the effects of different policies and reforms, which have been proposed or are under consideration.

“It’s an opportunity to do two things: Include Medicare in a much more expansive way … and it gives us federal resources to support stuff that we think is really essential to realizing a high performance health care system in Vermont,” she said. “In particular, it would allow us to beef up data systems, beef up our analytic capacity to use those data systems and then move forward with some other initiatives like doing a better job of measuring our workforce needs.”
The grant would also give the state the funds to test certain Medicare models for Medicaid and commercial insurance administration.

The federal government would dole out more than $20,000 a year for three years to two directors — one from the board and another from the Department of Vermont Health Access — and create nine new positions focused on health finance initiatives and data monitoring. The two directors would receive those funds in addition to their state salaries. Other funds would go to travel, equipment and outside evaluators, which the grant requires. The budget narrative for the grant application also has more than $11 million going to outside contractors over a three-year period. A range of contractors would aid in building up the state’s financial modeling and analysis systems for health care reform, help build the state’s technology and infrastructural capacities and provide technical assistance.

By December, said Wallack, the board should know if the state has received the grant.

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