Federal Officials Launch Grant Program To Boost Health Care Workforce
On Monday, the Obama administration announced the Health Care Innovation Challenge, which will distribute $1 billion in federal grants to organizations to experiment with ways to expand the health care workforce while reducing costs, the Washington Post reports.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which was created by the federal health reform law, will administer the funds and oversee the program. According to the Post, the program is intended to address the need for a larger health care workforce as a result of the expansion of coverage under the overhaul. About 32 million additional U.S. residents are expected to gain coverage by 2019 because of the reform law.
Physicians, community groups, local governments and other organizations that work with Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries are eligible for the program.
Organizations can use the funds to explore how certain jobs -- such as community workers, volunteers, pharmacy technicians and clinic managers -- could take on a larger role in the health care workforce.
According to the Post, the program will emphasize speed, with grantees expected to be operating new programs within six months of receiving the funding.
CMS Administrator Donald Berwick said, "We have a wealth of good ideas in health care, but the big challenge is spread." He added, "This will be seed money to get innovation to go further. This is venture capital to grow good ideas to scale" (Kliff, Washington Post, 11/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.