CMS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced on July 19 $275 million in new federal grant money for states interested in designing and testing new approaches to delivering health care in order to “bolster health care quality and decrease costs.” CMS expects that states participating in this “State Innovation Models Initiative” will work with a broad coalition (e.g., employers, insurers, community leaders, service organizations, health care providers, consumers, and tribal governments) to design and test “multi-payer payment and delivery systems” that deliver care to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP beneficiaries. According to CMS Acting Administrator, Marilyn Tavenner, “[t]hese awards are an incentive for states to recruit partners, and accelerate the work that many of them are already doing to improve health care and lower costs.”
Of these grant funds, $50 million will be allocated for Model Design awards granted to up to 25 states in order to “determine what type of system improvements would work best for them.” Meanwhile, the vast majority of the funds—$225 million—will be allocated to Model Testing awards provided to up to five states with projects that are ready to go for purposes of program implementation. Recipients of these Model Testing awards will generally be expected to pursue models similar to those already endorsed by CMS (e.g., accountable care organizations); although, CMS has indicated a willingness to back alternative ideas from implementation grant recipients, such as Medicaid waivers.
Additional information about the initiative is available at: http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/state-innovations/. CMMI also plans to host a webinar on Thursday, July 26, 2012, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM, EST, to provide an overview of the State Innovation Models Initiative. To find out more information about the webinar, including how to register, visit: http://innovations.cms.gov/resources/State-Innovation-Model-Overview.html.