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Final Round of Health Care Innovation Awards Announced

June 26, 2012

The final round of Health Care Innovation Awards were announced by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on June 15.

The 81 awarded projects are designed to “deliver high-quality medical care, enhance the health care workforce, and save money,” according to an HHS statement.

More information on the awards, including a state-by-state breakdown of the recipients, can be found at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) website.

Implications for Direct-Care Workers

A PHI analysis found that more than 20 of the grants awarded under the CMMI program will address the direct-care workforce in some way, whether by concentrating specifically on workforce development or more generally on eldercare/disability services.

PHI will be actively involved in one of the newly funded projects. The California Long-Term Care Education Center is launching an intervention to train personal care attendants (PCAs), making it possible for them to assume larger roles in the health care needs of In-Home Supportive Services consumers.

PHI will help to develop this advanced-aide training curriculum.

Projects Could Save Billions

The primary goal of the California intervention is to reduce emergency room visits — as well as hospital admissions from the ER — by 23 percent over the next three years. If accomplished, the intervention will save close to $25 million in related health care costs over the same time frame.

Overall, the 81 awards announced on June 15 could save the health care system as much as $1.9 billion over the next three years, HHS says.

The grants were made possible by the Affordable Care Act.

“Thanks to the health care law, we are giving people in local communities the resources they need to make our health care system stronger,” Sebelius said.

– by Matthew Ozga

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