HHS to Spend $840 Million to Improve Healthcare System

A dozen prospective states and projects have been named to receive a combined amount of $840 million under new programs intended to improve the healthcare system.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made up to $730 million available as part of the State Innovation Model initiative to help states design and test improvements to their public and private health care payment and delivery systems.

Project goals are to improve health, improve care and decrease costs for consumers, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries, according to a HHS news release.

“As a former governor, I understand the real sense of urgency states and local communities feel to improve the health of their populations while also reducing health care costs, and it’s critical that the many elements of health care in each state – including Medicaid, public health, and workforce training – work together,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a released statement. “To help, HHS will continue to encourage and assist them in their efforts to transform health care.”

A dozen projects spanning 13 states will receive up to $110 million in combined funding, ranging from an expected $2 million to $18 million over a three-year period, under the Health Innovation Awards program to test innovative models designed to deliver better care outcomes and lower costs.

Examples include projects to provide better care for dementia patients, improve coordination between specialists and primary care physicians and to improve cardiac care, according to the same release.

The Health Care Innovation Awards program will also focus on four priority areas: rapidly reducing costs for patients with Medicare and Medicaid; improving care for populations with specialized needs; testing improved financial and clinical models for specific types of providers, including specialists; and linking clinical care delivery to preventive and population health.

HHS announced the new delivery system reform efforts May 22. Additional prospective recipients to those announced May 22 will be named in the coming months.

Under the first round of the initiative in 2012, 107 organizations in urban and rural areas of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico received awards to come up with better healthcare delivery systems.

Written by Cassandra Dowell