Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the next round of health care innovation grants that will allocate $1 billion for creative projects that focus on four specific payment and delivery reform models to fill in gaps that had been identified in an earlier round of grants. The new projects will look at how to: rapidly reduce costs for patients with Medicare and Medicaid in outpatient hospital and other settings; improve care for populations with specialized needs; test improved financial and clinical models for specific types of providers, including specialists; and link clinical care delivery to preventive and population health. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebilius said that the awards will "continue to stimulate the ideas" needed to find "creative solutions to our health care system challenges."
The grants, knows as Health Care Innovation Awards, were made possible by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last year 107 grants were awarded under the program. For this round of grants, applicants should describe how multiple payers will work within the model and can introduce tests of scalability for the models. Letters of intent will be accepted in June, and grant applications will be accepted mid-June through mid-August.
The CMS Innovation Center, which awards these grants, was established by the ACA. Rick Gilfillan, who has served as the Innovation Center's director since 2010, announced Friday he will leave the agency at the end of June. He will be replaced temporarily by Patrick Conway, who currently serves as the CMS Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality.