June 16, 2012 – Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced the organizations that will receive Health Care Innovation awards.
Made possible by the healthcare law—the Affordable Care Act—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. The projects are expected to reduce health spending by $254 million over the next three years.
“We can’t wait to support innovative projects that will save money and make our health care system stronger,” said Secretary Sebelius. “It’s yet another way we are supporting local communities now in their efforts to provide better care and lower cost.”
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 to quickly and efficiently improve the quality and affordability of healthcare.
EMS-related projects include:
Prosser Public Hospital District: Prosser Washington Community Paramedics Program
Prosser Public Hospital District, serving a large, rural area in Washington State, is receiving $1,470,017 for a program through which physicians can send a community paramedic (CP) to visit a patient of concern, providing in-home medical monitoring, follow-ups, basic lab work, and patient education. The area has high rates of obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart attacks/coronary disease, and angina/stroke. Emergency room visits and readmissions are high and preventive care is limited, with poor follow-up care for chronic illnesses and frequent missed appointments. By expanding the role of the emergency medical services, CPs can increase access to primary and preventive care, provide wellness interventions, decrease emergency room utilization, and improve outcomes.
Over a three-year period, Prosser Public Hospital District's program will train an estimated 10 workers including community paramedics, medical information coordinators, RN case managers and medical doctors. The estimated three-year savings is $1,855,400.
Regional Emergency Medical Services: REMSA Community Health Early Intervention Team (CHIT)
The Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority of Reno, NV, a non-profit provider of ground and air ambulance services, in partnership with Renown Medical Group, the University of Nevada-Reno School of Community Health Sciences, the Washoe County Health District, and the State of Nevada Office of Emergency Medical Services, is receiving $9,872,988 to create a Community Health Early Intervention Team (CHIT) to respond to lower acuity and chronic disease situations in urban, suburban and rural areas of Washoe County Nevada. CHIT is designed to reduce unnecessary ambulance responses, as well as hospital admissions and readmissions, while improving the patients' healthcare. A central component to the success of CHIT is the adoption of a new non-emergency phone number to provide an alternative pathway to care for patients with lower acuity problems. Goals of this initiative include reductions in non-urgent emergency department visits, unreimbursed emergency department costs, hospital admissions, and hospital readmissions, as well as decreased hospital stays, fewer ambulance transports, and improved overall health care and continuity of care.