First innovators win $122.6M CMS awards for workforce, coordination

After receiving more than 3,000 grant applications, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today announced the first round of Health Care Innovation awards totaling $122.6 million.

Twenty-six innovative projects from "leading hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technology innovators, community-based organizations and patients' advocacy groups" are expected to slash healthcare costs by $254 million over the next three years, according to the statement.

The agency selected the preliminary winners, in part, for their new and innovative ways to meet changing healthcare workforce needs.

For example, Emory University in Georgia, along with area health systems, won more than $10 million to train health professionals to use tele-health tools to connect critical care units in rural Georgia with critical care doctors in Atlanta hospitals. The project could save about $18.4 million over three years.

Meanwhile, New Jersey's Cooper University Hospital won roughly $2.8 million and expects $6.2 million in three-year savings by using care management and care transition teams for patients with complex medical needs to reduce preventable emergency department visits, inpatient admissions and readmissions, according to the innovation project profile. Under the program, Cooper will train 14 healthcare workers and establish 14 new jobs to support care coordination efforts.

"We can't wait to support innovative projects that will save money and make our healthcare system stronger," U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today in a statement. "It's yet another way we are supporting local communities now in their efforts to provide better care and lower cost."

For more:
- read the HHS announcement
- check out the innovation project profiles