Texas-Based Projects Win Health Care Innovation Awards

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Texas-based health care projects have been selected to receive about $38.8 million in federal money through an initiative that aims to support projects designed to deliver quality medical care and save money.

Winners of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department's Health Care Innovation Awards were announced Friday by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. In addition to the direct awards, about $61.6 million will go to other projects that affect Texas.

Of exclusively Texas-based funds, the largest amounts will go toward projects at the Houston-based Methodist Hospital Research Institute — one, seeking to prevent delirium for Medicare and Medicaid patients, will receive $11.8 million, and one, which looks to treat sepsis early on, will receive $14.4 million.

Within Texas, funds will also be distributed to the Christus St. Michael Health System, the University of North Texas Health Science Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Other recipients that will impact Texas are projects based at Dartmouth College, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the Young Men’s Christian Association and Innovative Oncology Business Solutions.

Award recipients went through a rigorous application process, said Marc Boom, president and CEO of the Methodist Hospital system. The Methodist Hospital Research Institute will use the grants to expand both the delirium and sepsis projects to hospitals around the state.

"It's the classic win-win type situation in health care," Boom said of the medical advances from both projects. "What we really refer to as value in health care — better outcomes at lower costs." 

This is the second and final round of the awards, which will be disbursed over three years and have been given to projects in all 50 states.

The Health Care Innovation Awards are part of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform legislation whose constitutionality is under review by the Supreme Court, which could rule on the case in the next two weeks. A spokeswoman for CMS would not comment on how the funds might be affected if the court does not uphold the law, because executive agencies are not allowed to speculate on other governmental branches' activities.  

The first set of Health Care Innovation Awards gave about $4.6 million to San Antonio’s Center for Health Care Services, which works to create treatment models for mental health patients. It also gave about $2.7 million to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, whose projects to improve primary care for the homeless reach eight states, including Texas.

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