Caremerge, a healthcare technology company, is launching a new chronic care management tool that the company says is in part made possible by the changes to the healthcare system prompted by the Affordable Care Act. The tool is one of the first solutions designed to connect the fragmented aspects of chronic care coordination and the new Medicare Chronic Care Management reimbursements as set forth by the Affordable Care Act.
“A lot of people are starting from the ACO framework, but we wanted to start from the individual patient,” explains Asif Khan, CEO of Caremerge in an interview with CivSource.
Under the Affordable Care Act, new payment reimbursement codes will allow for this type of tool to bring together multiple facets of care without adversely impacting how physicians are paid. Historically, a patient’s primary physician has been the coordinator of chronic care management which can leave out certain aspects of wellness like physical therapy or holistic medicine from the care plan. The amendment recognizes the importance of care coordination for chronically ill patients and at the same time gives an incentive to physicians by providing the opportunity for reimbursements if the proper coordination is implemented to ensure improved care and decreased costs to the patient.
“By focusing on the most chronically ill patients we really got into the nitty gritty of care coordination. That informed the feature set of the tool,” Khan explains.
While traditional Electronic Health Records might be equipped to handle the billing component of CCM, they are not set up to create and manage the care plans, or electronic communications with patients and families required by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). The tool is designed to bring all aspects of a chronic care plan in-house for physicians, eliminating the need to pay outside providers.
As a broader platform, Caremerge started as a technology provider for the senior living community. Through the work of providing building systems for patients that are often chronically ill, Khan and his team were able to develop a tool for physicians. The tool will also integrate with the Caremerge platform for senior care facilities that use it.
“Creating the CCM solution was a natural extension of our care coordination network. We already serve seniors and this simply extends our reach to widen the circle of communication among physicians, staff, patients and families,” Khan says.
Going forward, the company plans to continue adding features. “I think its important for providers to understand that Accountable Care Organizations or ACOs aren’t the only option. We are interested in providing the technology that will help providers as they make those decisions,” Khan added.