Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Health Care Innovation Awards

The CMS Innovation Center has announced the first batch of preliminary awardees for the Health Care Innovation Awards.

The Health Care Innovation Awards are funding up to $1 billion in grants to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), particularly those with the highest health care needs.

Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius announced the first awardees on May 8, 2012:
From the electric light bulb to the Internet, American innovations have made lives better for people in this country and all over the world. 
The kind of work we’ve done to advance technology, communication and so many other aspects of people’s lives is about to get a jump start in health care, thanks to today’s announcement of 26 Health Care Innovation Awards. The awards are part of our We Can’t Wait initiative. 
“What America does better than anyone else is spark the creativity and imagination of our people," said President Obama during his 2011 State of the Union address, and that’s exactly what the Health Care Innovation Awards aim to do. These awards provide our most creative minds—whether they’re health care professionals, technology innovators, community-based organizations, patients’ advocacy groups, or others—with the backing they need to build the strong, effective, affordable health care system of the future. These are 26 unique projects, tailored to the needs of patients by local doctors, hospitals, and other leaders in their communities. 
These awards will save $254 million over the next three years by testing innovative approaches to improve the quality of health care and prevent disease and illness. And we’re just getting started. We’ll announce another round of innovation awards in June. 
Awardees are chosen not only because they had innovative strategies to get health care to some of our hardest to reach populations, but also because their programs are expected to help expand the well-trained health workforce we need for a strong and resilient economy, which is essential for quality care. 
One of these projects is Emory University’s example of ingenuity—a collaboration that trains health professionals and uses tele-health technology to link critical care units in rural Georgia to critical care doctors in Atlanta hospitals. The project aims to save money and improve the quality of care by reducing the need to transfer patients from rural hospitals to critical care units in Atlanta. 
The Health Care Innovation Awards are investments in American innovation. These new awardees represent America at its best. We’re proud of the organizations that are part of this group, and—given the thousands of proposals that poured in when we first announced this program—we’re sure we’ve only scratched the surface of our ability to transform health care with this first set of awards.

via White House Blog


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The new projects include collaborations of leading hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technology innovators, community-based organizations, and patients’ advocacy groups, among others, located in urban and rural areas that will begin work this year to address health care issues in local communities. This initiative allows applicants to come up with their best ideas to test how we can quickly and efficiently improve the quality and affordability of health care.

Projects include:

  • Emory University’s collaboration with area health systems to train health professionals and use tele-health technologies to link critical care units in rural Georgia to critical care doctors in Atlanta hospitals. This project aims to save money and improve the quality of care by reducing the need to transfer patients from rural hospitals to critical care units in Atlanta;
  • Camp Courage, which is a program in Minneapolis-St. Paul serving adults with disabilities and complex medical conditions. The grant will enable Camp Courage to save money and improve the quality of care by creating a patient-centered medical home focused on highest-cost Medicaid patients;
  • A University Hospitals of Cleveland initiative to increase access and care coordination for children beyond the walls of the doctor’s office. This initiative aims to save money and improve the quality of care by extending the expertise of an elite children’s hospital to local pediatric practices treating children with complex chronic conditions and behavioral health problems with physician extension teams and telehealth.

Preliminary awardees were chosen for their innovative solutions to the health care challenges facing their communities and for their focus on creating a well-trained health care workforce that is equipped to meet the need for new jobs in the 21st century health system. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the health care and social assistance sector will gain the most jobs between now and 2020.

These first awards total $122.6 million. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at HHS administers the awards through cooperative agreements over 3 years.

For more information on the awards, go to: innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/innovation-awards/project-profiles.html