Independent Health joins national Partnership

Independent Health joins national Partnership for Patients initiative

BUFFALO, N.Y. (May 9, 2011) – Independent Health has joined the “Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs,” a national health care initiative recently launched by Health and Human Services (HHS). This new public-private partnership seeks to improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care for all Americans.

The Partnership for Patients brings together leaders of major hospitals, employers, physicians, health plans, and patient advocates along with state and federal governments in a shared effort to make hospital care safer, more reliable, and less expensive. The Partnership hopes to save 60,000 lives by stopping millions of preventable injuries and complications in patient care over the next three years, with a potential savings of up to $35 billion, including up to $10 billion for Medicare.

Thomas J. Foels, M.D. MMM, chief medical officer at Independent health, said this nationwide effort aligns perfectly with Independent Health’s ongoing efforts to achieve the triple aim of better health, better quality and lower costs.

“Independent Health is committed to improving the quality, access and affordability of health care, a goal we continue to drive locally and nationally,” said Dr. Foels. “It is our long-held belief that transforming health care and lowering costs is a collective responsibility requiring wide-ranging partnerships with key stakeholders – in particular hospitals and physicians – and extensive collaboration among the public and private sectors.”

The two shared, stated goals of the Partnership are to:
  • Keep patients from getting injured or sicker. By the end of 2013, preventable hospital-acquired conditions would decrease by 40 percent compared to 2010.
  • Help patients heal without complication. By the end of 2013, preventable complications during a transition from one care setting to another would be decreased so all hospital readmissions would be reduced by 20 percent compared to 2010.

Dr. Foels said Independent Health is already working toward both of these goals through its Care Partners for Frail Elders and Care Transition programs, and other innovative partnerships with providers.

The Care Partners for Frail Elders initiative was launched in 2008 to help frail Medicare Advantage members who were having difficulty living independently at home and those with chronic conditions avoid preventable complications and medical emergencies. After being referred to the program by their doctor or a health coach from Independent Health, members receive initial in-home assessments from a registered nurse to determine their needs. With this assessment a comprehensive care plan is developed in conjunction with the member’s doctor, which includes follow-up visits. Emergency room visits, preventable inpatient admissions and readmissions have decreased since the start of the program.

Independent Health is also partnering with both Catholic Health and Kaleida Health on the Care Transition Program, which assists members with follow-up care plans when coming out of a hospital setting. This program resulted in a 3.85 percent overall reduction in the hospital readmission rate for Independent Health members last year.

In addition, Independent Health has received national recognition for taking the lead to partner with providers through programs such as Practice Excellence, a pay-for-performance program that rewards physicians who practice preventive medicine and offer patients more proactive care; Idealized Design of the Clinical Office Practice (IDCOP), which helps doctors to fundamentally redesign the delivery of care in their offices; and most recently, the Patient-Centered Medical Home, a patient-centered model of coordinated care that strives to improve quality, reduce cost and increase patient satisfaction.

For more information about the Partnership for Patients is available at

Headquartered in Buffalo, Independent Health began operations in 1980 and has consistently been rated among the top health plans in the country for customer service and member satisfaction. Independent Health’s comprehensive portfolio of product and service offerings include HMO, POS, PPO and EPO products, Medicare and Medicaid plans, traditional indemnity insurance, consumer-directed plans, coverage for self-funded employers, plus health savings account (HSA) and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) services. Combined, the company provides health benefits and services to nearly 375,000 individuals in Western New York and throughout the country. For more information, visit Independent Health’s website at