HHS challenge to focus on rapid workforce development

By Bernie Monegain
08:48 AM
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The government will award up to $1 billion dollars to fund innovative projects across the country that test creative ways to deliver high quality medical care and save money.

The Department of Health and Human Services launched the Health Care Innovation Challenge Nov. 14. The initiative will also give preference to projects that rapidly hire, train and deploy healthcare workers.

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“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 highest healthcare needs.

The challenge will support projects that can begin within six months. 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, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “By putting more programs like this in place and more “boots on the ground,” these types of programs can truly transform our healthcare system.”

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Awards are 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 multi-payer approaches. Each grantee project will be evaluated and monitored for measurable improvements in quality of care and savings generated.
 
Potential applicants must submit a letter of intent (LOI) by December 19, 2011, in order to be eligible for a funding award. Click here to submit your LOI.

Important Dates

  • Letter of intent due December 19, 2011
  • Applications due January 27, 2012
  • Anticipated award date – March 30, 2012