CMMI rethinks its innovation program, sharpens focus for Round 2 funding

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) will narrow its focus for the upcoming second round of Health Care Innovation Awards, the program announced Wednesday.

As with the first round of the program, project proposals must test new payment and service delivery models that will drive better quality and cost-containment. But in response to criticism on CMMI’s wide scope of interests, the second-round awards will be centered on only four core areas, notes a CMMI program description:

  1. Models that are designed to rapidly reduce Medicare, Medicaid and/or Children's Health Insurance Program costs in outpatient and/or post-acute settings.
  2. Models that improve care for populations with specialized needs.
  3. Models that test approaches for specific types of providers to transform their financial and clinical models.
  4. Models that improve the health of populations—defined geographically (health of a community), clinically (health of those with specific diseases) or by socioeconomic class—through activities focused on engaging beneficiaries, prevention (for example, a diabetes prevention program or a hypertension prevention program), wellness and comprehensive care that extend beyond the clinical service delivery setting.

CMMI had gotten a tongue-lashing during a Senate Finance Committee meeting in March, where several Republican congressmen expressed concern over too many initiatives and a lack of program oversight. “We are asking people to be more specific in their payment model going forward, and that is different than the way we handled this the first time around,” Dr. Richard Gilfillan, director of the CMS Innovation Center, said during Wednesday’s conference call.

Applicants who submit proposals within any of the four Round-Two categories will compete for a total of $1 billion in funding, typically spread over three years. CMMI requires a letter of intent to apply (due between June 1 and June 28, 2013), and will accept project applications from June 14 to August 15, 2013.  CMMI expects to announce the award winners in early 2014. 

For more information on the application process, see the details on CMMI’s Round Two web page.

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