Memphis healthcare group receives HHS designation for improving healthcare

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Healthy Memphis Common Table (HMCT) has been designated as the first Chartered Value Exchange (CVE) in the United States from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

According to HHS, a CVE is to be an agent its community can use to apply for a separate program from Medicare designed to learn more about technology's role in improving healthcare. Leavitt says groups designated as CVEs will be responsible for implementing national quality standards on a local level.

The designation comes from a new push by HHS toward clarity in the medical industry in quality and price. HHS will select 12 cities to begin the program funded with a $150 million federal grant.

"We talk about the healthcare system but there really isn't a system," Leavitt said. "What you have is a very large sector that is fragmented in many ways. There is a great inefficiency in that and also a danger because of lack of communication and coordination."

As a CVE, HMCT will have access to Medicare data that measures the quality of care physicians deliver to patients. The group should get data from Medicare by summer 2008. The program would allow HMCT to select 100 local clinics to participate in the program that would get higher payments from Medicare, if they meet certain criteria.

HMCT is a nonprofit organization designed to bring Memphis healthcare officials together for open discussion and healthcare reform.