Medicare will give Pennsylvania $33 million to expand its Chronic Care Collaborative

The federal Medicare program will give Pennsylvania $33 million to expand its Chronic Care Collaborative, which seeks to help doctors better treat the chronically ill.

Currently, 32 practices and about 150 physicians in Southeastern Pennsylvania are part of the state program, financed by Independence Blue Cross, Aetna, and four other insurers.

The goal is to help practices become patient-centered medical homes that provide basic education, track patients' progress by computer, and call those who miss appointments, among other things. The effort has already helped improve the care of diabetics.

The federal money will now extend the program for three years, starting in spring 2011.

"We hope this Medicare funding will inspire other practices" to join, said Richard Snyder, chief medical officer of Independence Blue Cross and cochair of the state's Chronic Care Commission.

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