Vermont announces $2.6 million in health care innovation grants


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Gov. Shumlin announces health care innovation grants

As part of Vermont’s ongoing health care reform efforts, Governor Peter Shumlin and the leadership of the Vermont Health Care Innovation Project (VHCIP) announced today the award of eight grants totaling more than $2.6 million to health care innovators around the state.

The grants are aimed at reducing health care costs by supporting projects that change how health care providers and their patients work together to prevent illness, manage chronic disease, and improve services.

“Health care reform in Vermont is well underway, and this is an important step toward our ultimate goal of creating a system that saves Vermonters money while covering everyone. Our challenge is to put a stop to skyrocketing health care costs that are hammering Vermont businesses and families. Through this grant program, we are supporting leaders who are working to do just that,” said Governor Shumlin.

Anya Rader Wallack, chair of the VHCIP, explained that the grant-supported projects will both reduce costs and improve care.  “These projects are all about better health care,” Wallack said.  “They reflect the best thinking about preventing illness, managing chronic conditions and reducing harm.”

The eight projects will test promising innovations and involve unique collaboration across provider groups.

The grants include:

$112,063 to a coalition of health care and long-term care providers in the Rutland area to develop a model of care for seriously ill patients with complex health care needs;

  • $176,400 to a coalition of health care and social service providers in the Northeast Kingdom to develop an integrated team approach to caring for “at risk” individuals who have high health care needs;
  • $363,070 to a primary care practice in White River Junction to develop a new approach to patient and provider management of chronic conditions;
  • $250,000 to Burlington Community Health Center, Northern Counties Health Care and the state’s employee assistance program to develop a model for reducing stress and preventing chronic disease among workers;
  • $548,829 to the Vermont Medical Society Education and Research Foundation  and the Fletcher Allen Health Care Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine to implement a statewide program that reduces unnecessary and potentially harmful medical testing;
  • $400,000 each to Bi-State Primary Care and HealthFirst to further develop their “accountable care organizations,” networks of providers who take responsibility for managing health care costs and quality for their patients; and
  • $350,000 to the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care to support a statewide surgical services collaborative.  This is a physician-led partnership to improve the quality of surgical care in Vermont and reduce complications from surgery.

The grants are made possible by federal funding for VHCIP through the “State Innovation Model” (SIM) program administered by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center (CMMI).  CMMI created the SIM initiative for states that are committed to planning, designing and testing new payment and service delivery models as part of larger health system transformation.  CMMI granted Vermont $45 million over three years to support the Vermont Health Care Innovation Project.  This is the first round of sub-grants provided under the project.  Wallack said there would be at least one more round during the next two years.

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