Healthcare News & Insights

CMS bestows first Healthcare Innovation Awards

Twenty-six organizations received the honor of being the first granted with the Healthcare Innovation Awards. Check out what these groups did to win a total of $122.6 million.

Award winners were chosen for their:

  • innovative solutions to the healthcare challenges facing their communities
  • focus on creating a well-trained healthcare workforce equipped to meet the needs of the 21st century healthcare system, and
  • money-saving practices.

The preliminary award winners are expected to reduce healthcare spending by $254 million over the next three years.

The projects, which receive funding for three years, include collaborations among the country’s leading hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technology innovators, community-based organizations and patients’ advocacy groups.

“We can’t wait to support innovative projects that will save money and make our healthcare system stronger,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a CMS press release. “It’s yet another way we are supporting local communities now in their efforts to provide better care and lower costs.”

This is only the first batch of award winners. More will be announced in early June 2012.

Here’s an overview of a few of the winning projects:

  • Beth Israel Deaconess  Medical Center, Boston.  The facility is receiving $4,937,191 for its project “Preventing avoidable re-hospitalizations: Post-Acute Care Transition Program (PACT)”. It’s estimated that the project’s three-year savings will be $12.9 million. The goal of the project is to improve care and reduce hospital re-admissions for Medicare beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. These patients represent over 8,000 discharges for conditions such as congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia.

    By integrating care, improving patients’ transitions between locations of care, and focusing on a battery of evidence-based best practices, this model is expected to prevent complications and reduce preventable re-admissions. The results would be better quality health care at a lower cost in the urban Boston area.

  • Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, Pittsburgh.The initiative is getting $10,419,511 for its project “Creating a virtual accountable care network for complex medical patients.” It’s estimated that the initiative’s three-year savings will total $74.1 million.

    The organization plans to create specialized support centers, staffed by nurse care managers and pharmacists, to help small primary care practices offer more integrated care within the service areas of seven regional hospitals in Western Pennsylvania.

    The resulting teams will provide support for care transitions, intensive chronic disease management, medication adherence, and other problems associated with a lack of communication in healthcare systems at large and the resulting fragmentation of health care for patients. This approach is expected to reduce 30-day re-admissions and avoidable disease-specific admissions.

  • Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles.“UCLA Alzheimer’s and dementia care:  comprehensive, coordinated, patient-centered” project will be awarded $3,208,540, and it’s estimated three-year savings is $6.9 million.

    This award will expand a new program to provide coordinated, comprehensive patient- and family-centered care for 1,000 Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. The goal is to reduce hospitalizations and shorten hospital stays, reduce emergency room visits, and improve patient health, caregiver health, and quality of care.

    The program will train and deploy professional and non-professional workers, and unpaid volunteers, expand a dementia registry, conduct patient needs assessments, and create individualized dementia care plans.

  • University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio.The facilities are getting $12,774,935 for the project “Transforming pediatric ambulatory care: the physician extension team.” The estimated three-year savings will be $13.5 million. University Hospitals (UH) Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital at UH Case Medical Center award is for improving care for 65,000 children in Medicaid with high rates of ER visits, complex chronic conditions and significant behavioral health problems. The intervention will offer healthcare advice, referrals and coordinated services through telehealth and home nurse hotlines.

    It will also provide practice-tailored facilitation for primary care providers and financial incentives to physicians who reach quality performance targets, agree to offer extended hours and make themselves available to treat these kids.

For a complete list of award winners, click here.



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