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CMS Awards Funding to Special Innovation Projects

October 21, 2016
by Heather Landi
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded 20, two-year Special Innovation Projects (SIPs) aimed at local efforts to deliver better care at lower cost.

The CMS SIPs awards will go to 12 regional Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs). The innovation awards were announced in a CMS blog post from Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS acting principal deputy administrator, deputy administrator for innovation and CMS chief medical officer, Kate Goodrich, M.D., director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality and Dennis Wagner, director of quality improvement and innovation group at the Centers for Clinical Standards and Quality.

According to Conway, Goodrich and Wagner in the blog post, the SIPs offer QIN-QIOs and their partners, clinicians, schools of higher education, innovation labs, and Medicare beneficiaries and their families the opportunity to address critical health care issues important to their constituency in the areas of quality improvement that may be underutilized, but represent a significant opportunity if spread locally, regionally, or nationally,

“QIN-QIOs serve the Medicare population by working with Medicare beneficiaries, providers, and communities in data-driven initiatives that increase patient safety, make communities healthier, better coordinate post-hospital care, and improve clinical quality,” they wrote.

 The organizations were eligible to submit proposals for two types of SIPs in 2016: projects addressing issues of quality occurring within the QIN-QIOs’ local service area under the umbrella of “Advance Local Efforts for Better Care at Lower Cost,” and projects focusing on expanding the scope and national impact of quality improvement interventions that have proven success in limited areas or scope under the category of “Interventions that are Ready for Spread and Scalability.”

As an example of one project that aims to advance local efforts for better care at lower cost, the Health Services Advisory Group received funding for its project to build capacity for telepsychiatry services in the Virgin Islands of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas to address the lack of psychiatric specialty services available.

Topic areas for “Interventions that are Ready for Spread and Scalability” were identified through consultation with the Strategic Innovation Engine (SIE). The Strategic Innovation Engine (SIE) is a new endeavor that will advance CMS’ six quality goals by rapidly moving innovative, evidence-based quality practices from research to implementation throughout the QIN-QIO program and be made available to the greater health care community, Conway, Goodrich and Wagner wrote in the blog post.

These high leverage topic areas include streamlining patient flow in health care settings; working with health plans and care coordination providers on approaches to post-acute care that results in enhanced care management as well as utilizing big data analytics to reduce preventable harm in health care.

The Atlantic Quality Innovation Network is one project that received funding in the area of “Interventions that are Ready for Spread and Scalability.” For that project, the Atlantic Quality Innovation Network, working in Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess counties in New York, with physician offices, pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes and county health departments, will strive to standardize prescribing practices for managing anticoagulants during the periprocedural period to reduce anticoagulant adverse drug events in all patients, including Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiaries. Interventions will include the use of a mobile/web-based application for clinical decision support in hospital/ambulatory surgery settings and optimization of patient education using health information technology.

A complete list of 2016 SIP awardees is located on the QIO Program website.

“We are committed to innovation and are excited to study the results produced by these SIPs and to identify ways in which to incorporate them throughout the QIO Program based upon their results. The SIPs create an exciting opportunity for providers, professional organizations, innovation labs, and others to innovate and impact health care quality in the Medicare program at local, regional and national levels through the QIO Program,” Conway, Wagner wrote in the blog post.


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