Object Health believes that, while such networks can deliver higher quality care, technology is only one of a complex set of elements that influence the adoption of information technology.
Object Health’s consulting is rooted in the ability to support providers in reimbursement strategies that give providers options to improve sustainability and achieve incentive funding for providing high quality cost-effective care. We have been at the forefront of supporting providers facing new value-based incentive plans such as Meaningful Use Incentives under Medicare and Medicaid, which were created by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) as part of ARRA funding in 2009. We consulted for more than 3000 individual providers who successfully received more than $70M in incentive funds since 2011.
In 2015, congress instituted the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). MACRA requires providers to participate in the MACRA Quality Payment Program (QPP) through either Merit-based Incentive Payment Systems (MIPs) or through Alternative Payment Models (APMs). Object Health has a history of preparing providers to participate in these incentive programs and with its deep knowledge of these programs provides speaking engagements, workshops and consulting services to providers, health systems and ACOs.
MIPS and APMs
Bob Jordan, Senior Consultant provides workshops and in office consulting to the Mills Peninsula Medical Group providers in Northern California. He has developed a MACRA/MIPs binder of key tools to ensure the readiness and successful filing of MIPs criteria to ensure providers receive incentive payments and avoid penalties. His Security Risk Analysis tool has been utilized across a broad spectrum of solo to large practices to ensure that patient health information is protected in compliance with the Promoting Interoperability program (previously Meaningful Use).
Under the Alternative Payment Models (APM) programs, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have become the vehicle to allow clinical integration with community providers whose practices are not integrated under one system or tax ID. These programs require experience with technology integration, coding and reimbursement expertise, practice management and workflow redesign and quality program development and reporting. Navigating the rules, requirements and responsibilities of APMs is a complicated endeavor that Object Health has become conversant with over the past ten years.
On behalf of the National Rural ACO and continuing with Caravan Health, the Object Health team successfully met across the country with more than 100 critical access hospitals, rural health care centers and community providers to assist in the formation of 30 Rural ACOs across America. These ACOs have become some of the highest performing organizations related to improved quality scores and reduced expenses to create cost savings for their patient populations.
ACO development and support is a key area of focus for Object Health and continues with its efforts supporting the ACOs across the country with management and compliance to ensure their longevity.
Health information exchange organizations (HIOs) aim to link disparate, dissimilar health information systems through a Health Information Exchange (HIE) so that relevant medical information is readily accessible by health care providers, primarily for improving patient care at the point of service. Object Health’s team has an exceptional breadth of experience in multiple aspects of HIE, including the development of strategic and business plans, technical readiness assessment, analysis of privacy and security policies, and the development of sustainable funding models.
Lori Hack, CEO is a former adjunct professor of HIE for the University of California Davis having taught the HIE Module for the Certificate in Health Informatics. Prior to this she was the Interim CEO of CalRHIO, one of the first HIEs developed in CA and continues to serve as an advisor to the California EHealth Collaborative (CAEHC). Her expertise as a thought leader in Health Information Exchange affords clients the ability to develop independent, vendor agnostic HIE technology RFPs, prepares communities and providers for real-life solutions to sharing data among disparate systems.
Object Health is funded by the California Department of Health Care Services to support HIE onboarding with its clients and has assisted organizations in the selection and implementation of HIE in Southern CA and the Central Valley. With the increased focus on Promoting Interoperability Programs (formerly Meaningful Use), Object Health is well positioned to assist Health Systems, FQHCs, RHCs and small practices to successfully enable their EHR and onboard to a robust Health Information Exchange.
Electronic Health Records
With the creation of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which were created by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) of 2009 as part of ARRA, preparing for Meaningful Use has become a critical aspect of EHR implementation for most healthcare providers. Object Health’s team has a history of successfully providing services related to EHRs ranging from readiness assessments for technology adoption, system selection and implementation, to roadmaps for leveraging maximum funding and incentive opportunities. As early as 2010, Object Health was supporting providers in their journey towards modernizing their health care practices. From a focus on electronic prescriptions to patient portal deployment, our team has been pivotal in changing the way that health care is delivered.
Val Tuerk, Senior Consultant has guided more than a 1000 providers working in County Health Services, specialty practices and FQHCs throughout Southern California from a EHR system selection process through implementation, workflow redesign, and process improvement to achievement of the maximum incentive funds through both the Medicare and MediCaid Meaningful Use programs. She has received exemplary evaluations both under the HITECHLA EHR Technical Assistance Program to the California Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) recent evaluations. By supplying both on site assistance and remote monitoring, her providers were the first to receive incentive payments for Meaningful Use under MediCaid in California in 2018. Val works with team members Stacey Attanasio and Sandra Arravillaga who both provide onsite training, analytics, report preparation and attestation support to an additional 500 providers in Southern and Central California.
Beginning in the early 1980s, managed care began to expand its focus from limited Health Management Organization development from the 1973 HMO Act, to expanding government developed reimbursement models such as DRGs and RVUs to reduce the rising costs of health care. In the 1990s private sector payors began the movement from fee for service models to a quality and value-based model. With more than 30 years of experience beginning in managed health care, the Object Health team advises payors and providers on current strategies from historical learnings of systems that can create a cost effective, high quality experience for the patients as well as providers.
Formed in 2004, Object Health LLC was developed to support safety net providers in California who provide much needed care to the millions of under, or uninsured. Object Health’s experience includes hands-on assistance to over 2,500 providers throughout Northern and Central CA and Southern CA including San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, and Los Angeles county including more than 30 county community health centers and more than 15 hospital systems. Further, we provide services to a dozen Health Plans both nationally organized and local Restricted Licensed Health Plans. This work includes managed care contract negotiations, credentialing and network management, privacy and security compliance, value-based reimbursement consulting, and quality improvement activities. An in-depth understanding of electronic health records workflow requirements for value-based reimbursement programs coupled with deep legal experience unique to California Health Plans round out this expertise.
Both Lori Hack and Walter Kopp have more than 30 year’s experience, in the managed care field having started their early careers developing strategies and solutions working for both payors and later providers to structure solutions to rising health care costs and diminishing provider satisfaction. Lori and Walter have served in positions ranging from provider relations, health education and contracting in large Payor system to managing large medical groups and health systems in combination with consortiums and hospitals. Our current work with Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California keeps us apprised of recent trends and strategies in managed care as they intersect with Advance Payment Models.
Improving quality is a common strategic goal of every health care organization. Achieving this goal across all areas of health care delivery can be difficult if not illusive. We believe that analyzing the gaps in current care delivery and breaking down the steps toward achieving quality outcomes is a process that requires a multi-stakeholder approach using data and strategic planning. As health care has largely moved from a paper-based system to storing information electronically, coding, data transfer and analytics are essential to improving population health.
Understanding the impact of culture, race and ethnicity as well as socio-economic impacts on outcomes is a key attribute of our consulting team. Having worked in around clinics, hospitals and small practices, the Object Health team is versant in the barriers to quality improvement regardless of the technology that has been enabled. We have a knowledge base in all aspects of quality reporting ranging from HEDIS and UDS to QPP and CQM programs.
Sandra Arrivillaga, Consultant and Kasham Montenegro, Senior Consultant currently provide quality improvement consulting to large health systems in both Southern CA and Philadelphia. Through their unique background managing clinics in underserved markets along with their capability to translate information to our largely Hispanic population, they have both garnered improved quality reporting, increased patient centered care models and developed strengthened ties with hospital and government systems providing care in a culturally competent manner. Object Health’s commitment to improving care for a diverse populations by addressing health care delivery disparities is another method we believe will change the way health care is delivered in America.
Object Health believes that strong program management is essential for success. Our services range from business landscape analysis to strategic planning, implementation and ongoing management. We excel in defining and implementing management practices to support complex health care initiatives from a nascent stage to an enduring, sustainable organization.
Strategic Planning and Business Sustainability
Our business sustainability studies provide critical information, including total cost of ownership, market data and benefits analysis in order to allow clients to build the business case for and communicate the business value of health information exchange initiatives. Analyzing the competitive landscape and combining financial and business needs with technology solution options prepares our clients for advanced business systems and organizational designs. These studies are particularly useful for initiatives that require funding and support from multiple organizations, a frequent occurrence in community health care programs.
Object Health’s team has worked with health care executives around the world for over 20 years to coordinate the governance, financing and business development side of health care. Through their experienced team, Object Health provides expert facilitation services to ensure a successful outcome to projects, meetings and conferences
RFP and Grant Writing Capabilities
Healthcare organizations often struggle with obtaining vendor agnostic advice and sufficient funding to support the start-up, upgrade or advancement of the organization.
Object Health’s team has developed RFIs and RFPs to assist clients in the selection of technology vendors and consultants at a state, county and community basis. These tools provide information for technology vendors and requirements development in areas of privacy and security, workflow assessment, standards for technology and interoperability in care settings such as county mental health systems, statewide health information exchange and private sector technology needs.
In addition to preparing RFPs, Object Health has a track record in responding to RFP’s garnering tens of millions for its clients and itself. In 2015 Object Health was awarded the second largest contract to support clinics and providers in technology implementation through the California Technical Assistance Program (CTAP), a CMS 90:10 match initiative. In 2018, Object Health renewed its work with CCALAC’s HRSA funded quality improvement in health centers program for a three- year project to improve UDS quality reporting in FQHCs.
For our clients, Ms. Hack and team drafted a response to the federal TCPI initiative that awarded Caravan Health and its partner the National Rural ACO with more than $31M in funds to support rural health providers in their preparation for APMs. We have assisted clients in responding to a variety of Grant Opportunities, navigating the SAM system and creating funding to assist health care organizations in realizing their goals.
Building a foundation of trust for healthcare delivery systems is ensuring organizations adhere to privacy and security standards and are compliant in all aspects of corporate laws is critical to sustaining long-lasting relationships with all stakeholders. Navigating the state, federal and local laws and regulations as it pertains to health care organizations, whether they directly care for patients or are adjuncts to care is complicated at best. Technology enabled care delivery adds an additional element requiring stringent privacy and security standards adherence in addition to business compliance.
Early in its formation, Object Health developed expertise in the intersection of privacy and security business requirements and the technical solutions that support and/or prevent trusted data sharing and management. The team has deep knowledge and has advised the California Office of Health Information Integrity (CalOHII) dating back to the early development of the California Privacy and Security Advisory Board assembled under the direction of Secretary Belshe and the Governor.
Since then, Object Health has developed tools for Compliance, Privacy and Security including manuals, policies and procedures, risk assessment documents and advisory documents for payors, providers and Government agencies. All members of the Object Health Team are conversant in HIPAA laws and regulations as well as the myriad of California regulations. We currently serve on a retainer basis as a Compliance Officer for several ACOs and health systems.
Over the past 10 years our clients in California have ranged solo providers in rural communities to large health care delivery systems in Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire. We work close with the California Department of Health Care Services supporting more than 3000 providers in their journey toward technical implementation of electronic health care records and health information exchange technology. Outside of California our previous clients include health care delivery systems in Philadelphia, Health Plans and ACOs in New York, rural providers in Oregon and Consortiums serving rural providers across America for population health and quality improvement.