Up to $1 billion will be awarded to innovative projects across the country that test creative ways to deliver high-quality medical care and save money.
Launched November 14 by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will also give preference to projects that rapidly hire, train and deploy healthcare workers.
“We’ve taken incredible steps to reduce healthcare costs and improve care, but we can’t wait to do more,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Both public and private community organizations around the country are finding innovative solutions to improve our healthcare system, and the Health Care Innovation Challenge will help jump-start these efforts.”
Funded by the Affordable Care Act, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will award grants in March 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 the Children’s Health Insurance Program, particularly those with the greatest healthcare needs.
The Challenge will support projects that can begin within six months. Additionally, projects that focus on rapid workforce development will be given priority when grants are awarded.
“When I visit communities across the country, I continually see innovative solutions at the very ground level—a large health system working with community partners to decrease the risk of diabetes with nutrition programs or a church group that sends volunteers to help home-bound seniors so they can live at home,” said Donald M. Berwick, MD, who recently stepped down as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “By putting more…'boots on the ground,’ these types of programs can truly transform our healthcare system.”
Awards will be expected to range from approximately $1 million to $30 million over three years.
Applications are open to providers, payers, local government, community-based organizations and particularly to public-private partnerships and multipayer approaches. Each grantee project will be evaluated and monitored for measurable improvements in quality of care and savings generated.
EMS-focused projects need not be limited to community-based paramedic-type projects, noted Gregg Margolis, PhD, NREMT-P, director of the Division of Health Systems and Health Care Policy in HHS' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. “There also may be opportunities to look at the transformation of EMS agencies to address prevention, care coordination, team-based care, community-based care, and other initiatives long discussed and written about in documents such as the EMS Agenda for the Future,” Margolis wrote in an e-mail promoting the program. “This grant encourages applicants to include new models of workforce development and deployment that efficiently support their service delivery.”
Letters of intent are due by December 19, applications by January 27. For more information, including a fact sheet and the Funding Opportunity Announcement, please see the Health Care Innovation Challenge initiative website at www.innovation.cms.gov.