Established by the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (“Innovation Center”) is tasked with revitalizing and sustaining Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program and ultimately improving the health care system for all Americans. In late 2011, the Innovation Center unveiled an unprecedented $1 billion opportunity to support compelling new strategies to reduce health care costs, improve quality of care, and change the way health care services are delivered. Funding is provided through a cooperative agreement mechanism ranging from $1 million to $30 million per awardee over a three-year period.
First round applications were due January 27, 2012 with plans to announce awardees by March 30th. However, given the significant price tag, it is no surprise that CMS had to extend its review period after receiving more than 3,000 applications, representing tens of thousands of clinicians, information technology entrepreneurs, medical suppliers, health centers, hospitals, community-based organizations and individuals from across the nation. CMS indicated on March 26th that this overwhelming response will delay award announcements by “several weeks.”
Organizations across the country are gearing up for a second round of cooperative agreements to be awarded in August 2012, which will include as much of the remaining funding (if any) as the second round of applications warrant (likely due in late June if funds remain).
What should you be doing in the meantime and how can you set yourself apart? Convene strategy meetings and work groups based on the initial Funding Opportunity Announcement . Identify your targeted patient population and diagnoses. Start determining the total cost of care accordingly. Keep the three core components of the Challenge at the forefront. These include workforce development, rapid deployment, and sustainability (and, of course, innovation), all to achieve the three-part aim of better health, better health care, and lower cost. Stay tuned for important updates regarding this opportunity.