Learn about the 107 organizations selected to receive approximately $895 million in grant funding through the Health Care Innovation Challenge.
Rob Lazerow and Jacob Shmukler, Health Care Advisory Board
On June 15, CMS’s Innovation Center announced the final round of 81 awardees in the Health Care Innovation Challenge, a grant program supporting organizations with innovative models for advancing CMS’s “Triple Aim” for Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP beneficiaries. Combined with the 26 awardees announced on May 8, a total of 107 organizations will receive grant funding through the Health Care Innovation Challenge.
In total, the awardees will receive approximately $895 million to implement the winning proposals across the next three years. Individual awards vary widely, with grants ranging from $1.1 million to $60.8 million.
The awardees, selected from over 3,000 applicants across the country, include health systems, hospitals, physician groups, payers, local and state health agencies, private corporations, regional care collaborative, and non-profit organizations. A full listing of the awardees and description of winning projects is available on the Innovation Center website.
Five key takeaways
Despite the wide variation in geography, patient panel size, type of delivery model, and stakeholder participation across the 107 awardees, several common themes connect the projects selected for funding. Here are our five key takeaways about the Health Care Innovation Challenge awardees:
1. CMS investing heavily in primary care innovation: Nearly 40% of Innovation Challenge awardees focus on improving access to primary care or deploying new primary care delivery models. For example, Finger Lakes Health System Agency in Rochester, N.Y. seeks to integrate community services with primary care through a broad range of stakeholders, including providers, payers, employers, government, and community organizations.
2. Awardees focusing on specific high-cost, complex patient populations: Rather than building broad-based programs, Innovation Challenge awardees typically focus on specific, complex patient populations. Awardees consistently identified dual-eligible beneficiaries and patients with high-cost chronic conditions as target patient populations. Additionally, 18 awardees specifically focus on supporting infants, children, and young adults, such as Health Resources in Action, the Boston-based facilitator of a multi-state, public-private partnership that will create an “Asthma Marketplace” to better supply high-risk children with high-quality, cost-effective asthma services.
3. Care coordination and management projects extend beyond the physician: Several projects empower mid-level providers and highly-engaged community members to facilitate patients’ self-management of chronic conditions. While some projects focus on newly-trained personnel, others leverage current care providers to assist in care management. For example, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative plans to save $74 million by deploying nurses and pharmacists to address gaps in care that lead to unnecessary complications or failures.
4. Awardees working to integrate physical and behavioral health care: Several awardees seek to integrate physical and behavioral health services to ensure comprehensive patient care. For example, Sanford Health aims to fully integrate primary and behavioral health through patient-centered medical homes across South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota. The project aims to bring together a range of providers to address the complete set of patient needs and decrease costs through increased communication and reduced complications.
5. Technology is an integral part of large-scale care innovation: Several awardees focus on the use of technology to enable care model innovation, especially in large-scale projects. For example, Portland, Oregon-based Finity Communications, Inc. will use health information technology to monitor over 120,000 high-risk patients in the Philadelphia area. The project will use the patient data to inform care management plans and develop patient engagement strategies.
To learn more about the Health Care Innovation Challenge, access our on-demand webconference, co-hosted with officials from the Innovation Center, which explores the details of the program and addresses attendees’ questions.
Further, review our new Field Guide to Medicare Payment Innovation infographic to see how the Innovation Challenge fits into the broader accountable care landscape.
As always, please feel free to call or email me with any questions.