North Country Initiative, FDRHPO Highlight DSRIP Inaugural Year Success

By Brian Molongoski | Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The North Country Initiative, in partnership with the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, is reporting a solid first year under the state’s five-year Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program.

DSRIP, which was launched last year, will distribute more than $8 billion to 25 Performing Provider Systems throughout the state based on each group’s ability to meet key milestones. The goal is to reduce avoidable hospital visits by 25 percent in five years, utilizing preventive health methods and increasing access to integrated primary and behavioral healthcare services in the outpatient setting.

The North Country Initiative PPS, which is comprised of six area hospitals and more than 500 healthcare providers throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties could earn about $78 million under DSRIP.

The PPS nailed a perfect score during the first year on each of its 11 health improvement projects, earning it 704 of a possible 704 “achievement value” points from the state Department of Health. The score helped the group secure $3,142,317 to benefit the health of north country residents.

“If I could pinpoint one reason for our success, it would be that our PPS partners have been at the same table for years, working together to better the health of our community since 2005 through the FDRHPO and since 2011 through the work of the North Country Initiative,” Erika F. Flint, DSRIP director for the North Country Initiative, said.

Specific goals of each PPS project include combatting chronic diseases such as diabetes, colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease as well as integrating and strengthening access to primary and mental health care and connecting providers by expanding health information technology.

During the first year, a North Country Care Coordination certificate program was developed for Jefferson Community College and SUNY Canton.

Several professionals were also recruited across the region, including 11 primary care providers, three nurse practitioners, two physician assistants, two psychologists, two psychiatrists and two dentists.

“It is important to remember these are not just dollars being earned, they are dollars going out the door with a purpose, to improve the health and well-being of the people of this region,” FDRHPO Executive Director Denise K. Young said. “We are 100 percent committed to that purpose.”

DSRIP Year 2 is now underway and will continue through March 31, 2017. The end of the DSRIP program is March 31, 2020.

A detailed list of DSRIP Year 1 funding distributions can be found here.