CMS, ONC Aim To Bolster Health IT Use Among Innovation States

April 2, 2015 in News

On Thursday, CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT announced a partnership to give participants in CMS’ State Innovation Models initiative access to new online tools and resources to advance the use of health IT, FierceHealthIT reports (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 4/2).


The initiative, which is funded by the Affordable Care Act, aims to support statewide innovations in both the design and testing phases. Some examples include:

  • Bolstering accountable care organization models to better support primary care;
  • Expanding the adoption of health IT to improve patient care; and
  • Providing health care providers and payers with technical assistance and data as they work to advance models.

In 2013, HHS awarded 25 states nearly $300 million through the program. In December 2014, HHS announced it would award more than $665 million to 28 states, three territories and Washington, D.C., to support state efforts to design and test innovative health care payment and delivery models and enhance the use of health IT.

In total, the two rounds of grants provided funding for state innovation models to areas that encompass about 60% of U.S. residents (iHealthBeat, 1/23).

Announcement Details

In a blog post, ONC officials said the office will use existing materials to develop online tools to help states achieve the initiative’s goals by enabling health system innovations (FierceHealthIT, 4/2).

They wrote, “This partnership was established to foster additional innovation and sharing of resources and best practices to drive forward health IT innovation around transforming health care delivery and overall population health” (Cronin/Haque, “Health IT Buzz,” 4/2).

The online resources will include those that can be used to help states and health care providers leverage health IT to manage a patient’s primary care and behavioral health needs (HHS release, 4/2). In addition, the tools will be used to help states advance health IT adoption, information exchange and interoperability to ensure “information is available where and when it matters,” according to CMS and ONC.

National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said, “These online resources are part of an overall effort to advance [the] goals of better care, smarter spending and, ultimately, healthier people.”

The online tools and resources will be available on In addition, many will be made available to states not participating in CMS’ SIM initiative (HHS release, 4/2).

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