U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Corker (R-TN), and U.S. Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN) today praised the announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that Nashville Medical Home Connection, a TennCare partnership between AmeriChoice, Nashville/Davidson County Hospitals and United Neighborhood Health Services, will receive $1.3 million over two years in federal grant funding to improve access to non-emergency medical care for Medicaid beneficiaries. As authorized by The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, CMS issued a total of $50 million in competitive grant awards to help state Medicaid programs provide primary medical care alternatives to costly hospital emergency room visits. Priority was given to alternatives that focused on rural and underserved areas or those that partnered with local community hospitals.
Through this funding, Nashville Medical Home Connection will provide Medicaid patients seeking non-emergent health care services at participating hospital emergency rooms with the opportunity to access health services through one of four health clinics located in the hospitals or at area community health centers. The program will also provide patients with information and education about the importance of establishing a primary care provider for their routine health care needs.
“Tennesseans need to have access to quality, affordable health care, and a big part of that is making sure that there are enough facilities to meet the growing demands of patients in our state,” Alexander said. “This funding will help ensure that Medicaid recipients in the Nashville area will have better access to non-emergency medical centers. I’m glad that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have recognized this need in Tennessee, and I will continue to work with the rest of our congressional delegation to make sure Tennesseans are getting the health care they need.”
“The overuse of emergency rooms by patients seeking routine medical treatment puts strains on our health care system, increasing costs for everyone and preventing patients from receiving better care at a facility more equipped to meet their needs. This funding will provide Medicaid patients in the Nashville area with greater access to primary, non-emergent medical care in a more efficient and cost effective manner,” Corker said. “Finding a way for all Americans to have access to affordable, private health care remains a top priority of mine and programs like this one that make health care work better for patients are a step in the right direction.”
“This grant will give thousands of Nashvillians access to primary medical care, reducing emergency room overcrowding and improving health care for everyone in the community,” said Cooper. “It’s exactly the kind of investment the federal government needs to make, steering patients toward regular, preventative care and away from costly emergency services. I’m particularly proud of the collaboration among nonprofit and for-profit businesses, as well as government at all levels, to reform health care delivery. Let’s make Nashville a model for the rest of the country.”
Funding under this federal grant program is directed for establishing new community health centers, extending the hours of operation at existing clinics, educating beneficiaries about new services and providing for electronic health information exchange between facilities for better coordination of care.
Medicaid programs in 20 states received awards under this program including: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. Tennessee will receive a total of $4.4 million over two years for three projects including a partnership between Haywood Park Community Hospital and Hardeman County Community Health Center and an initiative involving Erlanger Health System.