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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is making up to $1 billion in funding available to public and private organizations to develop innovative strategies for improving health care while lowering costs.
In an announcement Monday, the department outlined its goals for the Health Care Innovation Challenge, which was established as part of the Affordable Care Act. Those applying for grants, which will range from $1 million to $30 million over three years, should focus on three priorities: workforce development and deployment, meaning that applications should explain how they would improve the health care workforce; speed of implementation; and the sustainability of the program being proposed.
"We've taken incredible steps to reduce health care costs and improve care, but we can't wait to do more," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "Both public and private community organizations around the country are finding innovative solutions to improve our health care system. The Health Care Innovation Challenge will help jump start these efforts."
Health care providers, patients, local governments, public-private partnerships and collaboratives are eligible to seek funding. Letters of intent are due on Dec. 19, and applications are due by Jan. 27, 2012. The awards will be announced March 30, 2012. Recipients will be monitored for their effectiveness in improving care and lowering costs; they will be expected to provide data that demostrates how they are progressing toward their stated goals.
The department listed several uses of the funding that are explicitly prohibited: the matching of any other federal funds; paying for services or equipment that are the legal responsibility of another entity; and replacing for existing state, local or private funding for infrastructure or services, such as staff salaries.