CMS innovation awards look to bolster patient monitoring, health exchange

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced its second batch of recipients in round two of the Health Care Innovation Awards program, bringing the total to $360 million handed out for organizations to test innovative care models.

The 39 prospective recipients will receive grants worth between $2 million and $23.8 million over a three-year period, according to an announcement. CMS named 12 prospective recipients in May and funded 107 organizations in 2012 in round one.

Round two focused on projects to reduce costs in outpatient or post-acute settings, improve care for people with special needs, transform provider financial and clinical models, or improve health conditions defined by geographic area, socioeconomic class and clinical category.

Examples of this year's recipients include projects to improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS, support frail elderly patients in the community, reduce unnecessary use of emergency departments and promote better rural care coordination and telehealth. For instance:

  • Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha is slated to receive $9,993,626 to test the Remote Interventions Improving Specialty Complex Care model, which provides remote monitoring for 90 days after patients are discharged. Patients in medically underserved areas will receive telehealth equipment, health and nutrition consultation, a retinal eye imaging scan and follow-up consults with an ophthalmologist if needed.
  • The Altarum Institute, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is slated to receive $9,383,762 for a project focused on improving the dental health of children enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program. The project links primary care providers and dentists through an existing state registry, where providers will document screenings and risk status. State and regional health information exchange infrastructure will be used to provide referrals between doctors and dentists.
  • The University of Kansas Hospital Authority's grant of $12,523,441 will go toward the Rural Clinically Integrated Network to Improve Heart Health and Stroke Survival for Rural Kansas. The idea is to form a team from the hometown physician to the academic medical center responsible for population health. The network will expand use of telehealth, health information exchange, "big data" analysis and population health management.

The Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) last summer highlighted 10 programs targeted at Medicaid super-users indicating that early intervention and primary care can reduce costs with better results for complex patients.

To learn more:
- find the announcement
- here's the list of recipients (.pdf)