We Can’t Wait: Jumpstarting Innovation in Health Care, Reducing Costs

By Donald M. Berwick M.D., Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Crosspost from Healthcare.gov

Health care costs remain a significant drain on the budgets of families, businesses, and federal and state governments. The health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, made significant strides in making Medicare more affordable and insurance companies more accountable. Congress is considering other ways to build on this progress, but we can’t wait to do more to help make our health care system more affordable.

In that spirit, the Obama Administration recently launched the Health Care Innovation Challenge. Made possible by the Affordable Care Act, this initiative will invest up to $1 billion in the best projects that doctors, hospitals, and other innovators propose to deliver high-quality medical care and save money. Projects that win this competition will use health care dollars more wisely, help create jobs, and help professionals improve the work they do for patients.

Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum and usually doesn’t start in Washington — we need the vision and experience of people who are already proving that our health care providers can and do provide better care and better health at lower cost. So we want to hear from you. Send us your innovative ideas and solutions, and submit a proposal outlining your vision for helping us transform the health care system. We’ll sort through these proposals and help put the best ones into practice.

If your proposal has strong evidence that it can start quickly, reduce costs, and improve health care, you can qualify for approximately $1 million to $30 million in an up-front investment. Priority is given to proposals that retrain workers and support job creation. You can find a fact sheet and the Funding Opportunity Announcement on our Healthcare Innovation Challenge Web page.

We’ll work with a wide variety of public and private organizations, including providers, payers, local governments, community and faith-based organizations, and other innovators whose compelling ideas can improve health care for patients. We are also looking for projects that help patients with the greatest health care needs, projects that can be up and running soon, and projects that rapidly hire, train and deploy health care workers.

For example, the Health Care Innovation Challenge could support the use of personal and home care aides to help the elderly stay in their homes or expanding the use of community-based paramedics to provide basic services to individuals in rural communities.

Different communities have different needs and circumstances—some require unique, locally driven innovations. With the Health Care Innovation Challenge, we hope to give providers even more opportunities to make our health care system even stronger.

We look forward to hearing your ideas on how to make this happen. For more information, you can also visit http://innovations.cms.gov/.

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