PCORI Awards $3.8 Million in Research Funding to UPMC Center

Jan. 29, 2018
The UPMC Center for High-Value Health has been approved for a $3.8 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to research integrated care models for patients with complex care needs.

The UPMC Center for High-Value Health has been approved for a $3.8 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to research integrated care models for patients with complex care needs.

The announcement marks the third time in the past five years that the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care has been selected to receive PCORI funding, totaling more than $7.5 million.

The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care promotes value-driven health care by deploying innovations developed by the UPMC Insurance Services Division in partnership with providers, patients, and other stakeholders. The UPMC Insurance Services Division is owned by Pittsburgh, Pa.-based UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center).

The PCORI funding will allow researchers to study the effectiveness of two approaches for deploying an evidence-based integrated care model that supports the most vulnerable patients. This model was developed by UPMC Health Plan and Community Care Behavioral Health for Medicaid and dual-eligible beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions who often have multiple health-related and psychosocial needs.

One approach utilizes nurses and social workers employed by UPMC Health Plan to provide intensive, in-person support services for patients in their homes and communities, and the other approach primarily utilizes telehealth, remote monitoring, and other web-based health tools available through UPMC Health Plan.

Over the course of the next four years, researchers will study the impact of these "high touch" and "high tech" deployment techniques on outcomes such as hospital readmission, patient activation, and health status. A collaborative research team from UPMC Health Plan, Community Care Behavioral Health, and UPMC Provider Services will participate in the study along with patients that are representative of the Medicaid and dual-eligible populations.

“Thanks to the PCORI funding, we will be able to better understand how innovative deployment strategies can enhance the ability of health care systems to support these patients through an integrated model of care,” James Schuster, M.D., chief medical officer for Medicaid and behavioral services at UPMC Health Plan, said in a statement. “The results of this study will allow us to enhance patient engagement, support patients with programs that are best suited for them, and improve overall health outcomes."

"The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care project was selected for PCORI funding for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge related to this at-risk group of individuals," Joe Selby, M.D., executive director of PCORI, said. "We look forward to following the study's progress and working with the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care to share the results."

The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care received $1.8 million from PCORI in 2013 to study strategies that engage adult Medicaid beneficiaries with serious mental illness in new approaches to health and wellness. In 2014, PCORI awarded $2.1 million in funding to the Center to compare the effectiveness of two shared decision making approaches for individuals with serious mental illness and their prescribers.

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