HHS awards $665M to states in healthcare innovation initiative

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday announced the second round of grants as part of its State Innovation Models Initiative, awarding a total of more than $665 million to be split among 28 states, three territories and the District of Columbia. The funds are earmarked for the states to "design or test innovative healthcare payment and service delivery models," according to HHS, with the ultimate goal of reducing costs for Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, while improving the overall quality of care. Combined with the first round of grants that involved $300 million awarded to 25 states, the initiative now includes 38 total awardees that represent 61 percent of the U.S. population. "States are laboratories of innovation and serve as critical partners in transforming healthcare," Patrick Conway, M.D., the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' deputy administrator for innovation and quality and chief medical officer, said in the HHS announcement. "States are large healthcare purchasers for their employees and residents, have broad regulatory authority over healthcare providers and payers, have the ability to convene multiple parties to improve statewide health delivery systems, and oversee public health, social, and educational services. Partnering with states on health innovation has the potential to accelerate and transform health innovation in all of these areas."  Announcement