UAMS Family Medical Center Jonesboro to Participate in Public-private Partnership

By Nate Hinkel

The Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative has 500 primary care practices in eight states, including UAMS Family Medical Center Jonesboro, part of the University of  Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Area Health Education Center Northeast (AHEC NE).

The initiative is a partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, state Medicaid agencies, commercial health plans, self-insured businesses and primary care providers. These public and private health plans are in Arkansas, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Ohio, Kentucky and Oklahoma.

For patients, the initiative means participating physicians may offer longer and more flexible hours, use electronic records, coordinate care with patients’ other health care providers, better engage patients and caregivers in managing their own care and provide individualized enhanced care for patients living with multiple chronic diseases and higher needs.

“AHEC NE is honored to be accepted to the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative project and particularly excited about what this means in terms of transforming current health care delivery methods that our patients will soon enjoy” AHEC NE Center Director Ron Cole said. “Creating a more comprehensive model of primary care for Arkansans will not only meet more of their needs than current health care models but hopefully reduce costs in the process. As a teaching facility this also means we’ll propagate these principles to our learners so in effect leveraging the project benefits to multiple primary care providers. These are exciting times in the health care industry and projects like CPCI allow us to expand our understanding of how better systems improve the health of all citizens.

Under the initiative, CMS will pay primary care practices a care management fee, initially set at an average of $20 per beneficiary per month, to support enhanced, coordinated services on behalf of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. Simultaneously, participating commercial, state and other federal insurance plans also will offer enhanced payment to primary-care practices that are designed to support them in providing high-quality primary care on behalf of their members.

CMS selected the markets in April 2012 based on the percentage of the total population covered by payers who had expressed interest in joining this partnership. Eligible primary care practices in each market were invited to participate and start delivering enhanced health care services starting Oct. 1.

Selection was based on the use of health information technology, ability to demonstrate recognition of advanced primary care delivery by leading clinical societies, service to patients covered by participating payers, participation in practice transformation and improvement activities, and diversity of geography, practice size and ownership structure. CMS estimates that more than 30,000 Medicare beneficiaries will be served by more than 2,000 providers through this initiative.

The Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative is a four-year initiative administered by CMS Innovation Center. The Affordable Care Act created the center to test innovative payment and service delivery models that have the potential to reduce program expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 775 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or