Health Care Innovation Awards: Project Profile


Project Title: "Leverage innovative care delivery and coordination model: Project ECHO"
Geographic Reach: New Mexico
Funding Amount: $8,473,809
Estimated 3-Year Savings: $11,100,000


The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center is receiving an award for its ECHO Project. The goals of the ECHO® model is to improve the quality of care and reduce the total cost by at least 3.5% in 2,500 high-need, high-cost Medicaid beneficiaries in New Mexico, and to increase overall primary care capacity to diagnose and provide the best treatment for these complex patients. The ECHO® program will expand the capacity of the primary care workforce through participation in a TeleECHO® clinic dedicated to co-managing complex care for patients with significant multi-morbidity, including mental health and substance abuse. In addition to this new Complex Care TeleECHO® Clinic, a new type of primary care clinical team will care for these patients with complex medical, behavioral and social needs at provider sites located around New Mexico. This "outpatient intensivist team" (OIT), has the potential to dramatically improve care and reduce costs for the Medicaid beneficiaries experiencing high utilization of services.

Medicaid has been an active partner with ECHO® from its inception, and continues to be strongly committed to its success. Multiple Medicaid MCOs will fund the OITs based on the patient population cared for by the OIT at each provider site as well as compensate the multidisciplinary team of specialists at the Complex Care TeleECHO® Clinic for consultative services.   

The high-need and high-cost Medicaid population to be served by ECHO Care® is being identified through the assistance of researchers at New York University  who have developed a methodology to select the most complex and costly patients whose costs can be impacted with comprehensive and coordinated care. Strategies for sustaining these savings beyond the project time period include the maintenance of increased capacity of OITs to manage complex patients and the formulation of a replicable reimbursement model utilizing the ECHO® prototype as a core element of healthcare delivery.

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