The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) recently announced a second round of its Health Care Innovation Awards, grants that will be awarded to health care providers who propose clinical models for medical practice management that improve care while decreasing Medicare costs. This announcement is in addition to the 107 health care organizations that received grant money last year. CMS hopes the grant opportunities will motivate innovative thinking in both the private and public sector.
CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner explained the purpose of the grant program. "We have seen national healthcare cost growth slow significantly in the last three years.” CMS wants to continue that trend by testing new payment models for care.
Four Primary Areas
Health care providers in all 50 states can participate, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The CMS is interested organizations in both urban and rural areas whose proposals focus on the following four primary areas.
1. Quickly decreasing costs for Medicare and Medicaid patients, both in hospital and other settings.
2. Improving care provided to the special needs population.
3. Analyze financial and clinical models for specialists and other types of providers.
4. Connecting the delivery of clinical care to preventative health and the overall wellness of the population.
Emphasis on Results for Special Needs
This second round of grants is focused on results, specifically for the special needs population. The CMS is looking for specific models. Participants are required to show measurable and provable propositions. According to Health Care Attorney Colin Roskey, "CMS is expected to target providers who serve populations with significant health needs." This might include patients that receive both Medicare and Medicaid, the chronically ill, those that are in long-term care hospitals or patients with various disabilities.
The CMS is looking for innovative proposals that facilitate better community-base care services. Roskey gave the example of an oncology practice that treats special needs patients or patients with other life-threatening illnesses as well. Testing a model associated with merging billing and payments for various treatments is something the CMS is interested in.
We are seeing historic changes to our health care system. Financial and clinical models being tested now are likely to be implemented in the next few years. If you are a medical provider with a great idea, now is your time to promote it. Click here to find out more about CMS grant programs and current models that are being tested.