HHS gives out 81 innovation awards

Awards will support innovative projects nationwide
By Bernie Monegain
03:54 PM

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday announced the recipients of 81 new Health Care Innovation Awards made possible by Affordable Care Act. The awards will support innovative projects nationwide designed to deliver high-quality medical care, enhance the health care workforce, and save money.

[See also: HHS gives innovation awards to 26 organizations]

Combined with the 26 awards announced last month, HHS has distributed money to 107 projects that plan  to save the healthcare system an estimated $1.9 billion over the next three years.

"Thanks to the healthcare law, we are giving people in local communities the resources they need to make our healthcare system stronger," said Sebelius, in a press statement.

[See also: CMS' Tavenner spotlights innovation]

The projects are located in urban and rural areas, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 

Two examples of projects include:

  • Sepsis Early Recognition and Response Initiative in Texas:  Led by the Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston, the program takes a novel approach to identify and treat sepsis before it progresses. Sepsis is the sixth most common reason for hospitalization and typically requires double the average time in the hospital. It leads to complications such as renal failure and cognitive decline. One out of 20 patients with sepsis die within 30 days. Methodist Hospital’s initiative is designed  to reduce the cases of organ failure, improve patient outcomes, lead to shorter hospital stay and lower costs.
  • Regional Emergency Medical Services in Nevada – along with the Renown Medical Group, the University of Nevada, the Reno School of Community Health Sciences, the Wahoe County Health District, and Nevada‘s Office of Emergency Medical Services – is establishing a new non-emergency phone number for Community Health Early Intervention Teams that will help people get fast and appropriate care, reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, and lower costs.

Awardees were chosen for their innovative solutions to the healthcare challenges facing their communities and for their focus on creating a well-trained healthcare workforce that is equipped to meet the need for new jobs in the 21st century healthcare system.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at HHS contracted with an external organization with extensive experience in managing independent grant review processes to administer the award review process to ensure an objective review of each application. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation within CMS will administer the awards through cooperative agreements over three years.