CMS Seeks to 'Rapidly Reduce' Medicare Spending with $1B in Grants

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , May 17, 2013

"These might be dual-eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) patients, patients who are chronically ill or reside in long-term care hospitals and/or patients who have other disabilities that prevent them from being fully functional in the work place that this innovation program could facilitate better community-base care services," he says.

"I see some psychology, I see some psychiatry, and I see a larger emphasis on poor people who are dual-eligible being able to access through their delivery system care that might facilitate improvements in their population health."

Last year CMS awarded 107 round one Health Care Innovation Awards out of nearly 3,000 applications to organizations that are currently testing innovative solutions to improve outcomes and reduce costs. Projects are located in urban and rural areas, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, CMS said.

Notable projects include:

The Courage Center in Minnesota, which provides a medical home for people with traumatic brain injury and those in wheel chairs. The patients have lower rates of depression and have reduced rates of hospitalization by 71% - from 10.8 days per year to only 3.1 days per year. 

Welvie, LLC in Ohio, which is teaming with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Ohio to enable Medicare beneficiaries to make better informed decisions about surgery and their treatment options. Since September 2012, nearly 3,500 patients have participated, with 48% considering surgery alternatives and 17% choosing less invasive options, resulting in an average savings of $7,000 for each surgery avoided. 

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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