In an innovative practice? You might qualify for government funds

November 23, 2011

A new government initiative will begin awarding $1 billion in funds next March to physician offices and other healthcare sites exploring creative ways to deliver high-quality medical care and reduce costs for people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Projects that can be up and running in 6 months or less and demonstrate a model for sustainability after the 3-year award period will have priority. Find out why it might be worth a look to see if your practice can qualify.

The battle to transform healthcare delivery in the United States requires “more boots on the ground,” and the government has allocated $1 billion to foster innovative programs by physician offices and other healthcare sites. It might be worth a look to see whether your practice could qualify.

Donald Berwick, MD, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said the new initiative, called the Health Care Innovation Challenge, will begin awarding funds next March to projects that explore creative ways to deliver high-quality medical care and reduce costs for people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, especially for those with the greatest healthcare needs. Projects that can be up and running in 6 months or less and demonstrate a model for sustainability after the 3-year award period will have priority.

Preference also will be given to those programs that quickly hire, train, and deploy healthcare workers to support new models of care or delivery.

Award programs may be expansions of existing programs to reach new populations or entirely new ventures. Ideally, programs will involve additional public and private sector partners. The Health Care Innovation Challenge funds also will be awarded to applicants who propose ways to enhance healthcare infrastructure to support most cost-effective system-wide function. The program is funded through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“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,” said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The competitive awards will range from $1 million to $30 million. Clinicians, health systems, private and public payers, faith-based institutions, community-based organizations, and local governments are eligible. Awardees will need to provide regular updates on their programs, including improvements in quality measures, patient cost savings, and performance against goals.

Applicants must submit a letter of intent by December 19, 2011, to be considered. Applications are due January 27, 2012, and must be submitted through www.grants.gov. Additional information about the program is available in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

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