$4.2 million fund for digital health in NY; less and more than it seems

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  • Only two out of the four areas included in the specs truly intersect with telehealth, telecare and generally m/eHealth: message alerts and patient engagement (which specifically includes telehealth, self-management tools and patient education).
  • $300,000 per company, tops, seems a little stingy. For a FFF-funded* company, it may be a step up, but for companies with more proven technologies, $300,000 is barely worth the time and filing investment.
  • Editor Donna’s opinion is that it is both less and more than it seems
    • Funding: spread too thin. Lower incentive=fewer quality companies with technologies which are actually functional and (gasp) proven.
    • Running the numbers: Mr. Calculator multiplies $300K x 12 and comes up with $3.6 million. The funding is announced at $4.2 million. It takes $600,000 to administer this from already funded entities such as NYeC and Empire State Development Corporation? There’s a nice bridge over the East River for sale…and the last line of the masterful film ‘Chinatown’ comes to mind– ‘Jake, it’s Chinatown New York”.
  • More food for thought:
    • Why the rush from late April announcement to 1 June application closing? Because January 2013 is coming. Glimpse behind Oz’s curtain in this article by Scott Gottleib of the American Enterprise Institute and a former senior official at CMS (the Federal admin body for Medicare and Medicaid) The real incentive is the Federal ‘demonstration’ program starting January 2013 in NY and other states to move dually eligible elderly and disabled, most with multiple conditions amd all low-income, from the Medicare rolls to state Medicaid capitated managed care programs. Medicaid programs generally are not oriented to their specialized needs (as Medicare is) and are famously going broke. But with the transfer of the elderly and disabled comes their cash into these hard-up Medicaid programs. Are there real savings? Who knows?
    • These Medicaid HMO plans are administered by (drum sting) UnitedHealthGroup and Aetna, among others. And this shifting has put many non-profits who administer medical and home care programs for said low-income elderly and disabled into the pretzel position–and threatening the future of programs that do real good, right now.

Read more: Health Data Management, Digital Health Accelerator’s overview and ‘who should apply’.

* FFF=families, friends and fools. A/K/A ‘true believers’.