"It's not about the size of the organization, but about the processes and how people, processes and technologies react," she says. "I'm not going into this assuming it will always be the large system showing the way."
So what's keeping this exercise from being another wasteful government grant? After all, it's debatable whether a lot of this work would have to happen regardless, given the increasing link between quality of care and outcomes with payment for healthcare services.
"We are not adding any significant overhead to do this work," says Hendrich. "We must do it anyway. The funding supports the dissemination, production and measurement, which a key aspect of this project because what we'll be reporting and collecting requires some more effort."
So without the grant, such activities certainly wouldn't be shared widely or in any kind of formalized training program. At worst, without money to pay for infrastructure and time, some of these techniques for providing better patient care could even been seen as trade secrets—a way to maintain your competitive advantage. All right, maybe that's going too far. But allowing the lessons to percolate organically takes too much time, and in this situation, time lost equals lives lost.
While it's not a true ROI measure, and they're not taking the money back if it's not achieved, HHS goals for the program are bold: a 40% reduction in healthcare-acquired conditions and a 20% reduction in hospital readmissions for participants.
If they can achieve those kinds of results, nobody's going to be asking whether the grant was well spent. They'll want to expand it.