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Healthcare Professionals Improve Care and Reduce Costs with Innovation Advisors Program


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has launched a program aimed to help healthcare professionals gain skills that will drive improvements to patient care for those who are enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This effort will also help reduce costs for these public health insurance programs that are struggling financially.

The Innovation Advisors Program will assist healthcare professionals in gaining knowledge in four key areas: Healthcare economics and finance, Population health, Systems analysis, and Operations research. As many as 200 clinicians will be selected for the first year with orientation beginning in December 2011 and the formal program launching January 2012.

“We seek to support and expand the number of health care leaders with the knowledge and the vision to find innovative ways to improve care for patients and use our healthcare dollars more wisely,” said CMS Administrator Don Berwick, M.D. “The CMS Innovation Center is an ideal host for this network of experts. It will support their work on efforts that can strengthen public-private partnerships and ensure patients can spend more time with their doctor and get higher-quality care and lower costs.”

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The “Innovation Advisors” will be expected to commit up to 10 hours per week during the initial six months of the fellowship program. Part of the time will be devoted to seminars and instruction, and the remaining time devoted toward implementing their own personal improvement projects. The selected individuals will meet regularly to share ideas, report on successes, and discuss common challenges.

The initiative is one of a number of efforts made possible by the Affordable Care Act to help bring better health care to all Americans, while helping use healthcare dollars more wisely.

The total cost of the program is $5.9 million. The largest portion will be provided as stipends to the Innovation Advisors to support their activities and travel.

The deadline for healthcare professionals to submit applications to join the program is November 15, 2011. Eligible candidates include physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, instructors and non-clinicians such as healthcare executives. Participants will be selected based on the following criteria:
• The individual’s ability to make an impact on a local, regional, or national level
• The individual’s background and interest in transforming the healthcare delivery system for Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP beneficiaries
• The quality of their proposed innovation project in their home organization or area
• Their organization’s explicit commitment to the appointee’s participation in the IAP
• Management or leadership experience

Source: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Office of Media Affairs