Innovation Grants and Contracts

The Affordable Care Act created the CMS Innovation Center, which funds programs that develop and test a series of new innovation models that are designed to change the way healthcare is delivered to improve care, improve outcomes, and lower costs. The health policy and strategy team has been deeply engaged in several Innovation Center programs, providing leadership, proposal development, and enterprise-level coordination for programs including:

Health Care Innovation Challenge (Rounds 1 and 2)

The VCHA office (including both the Population Health Sciences and the Health Policy and Strategy teams) led an effort to coordinate applications being submitted by UI Health for both rounds of the CMS Health Care Innovation Awards. The goal was to ensure that applications reflected the broader goals of the university and were feasible within the structure of our clinical delivery system.

In Round 1, VCHA offered financial support to help applicants prepare proposals, and provided substantial seed funding for one applicant to internally develop its innovation. This became the Emergency Patient Interdisciplinary Care Coordination (EPIC) program for frequent ER visitors.

In Round 2, VCHA worked closely with all applicants, with particular attention to the development of new payment and service delivery models to meet CMS requirements.

Coordination of Healthcare for Complex Kids (CHECK)

In September of 2014, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Pediatrics was the only recipient in Illinois to be awarded one of the 39 Round 2 Health Care Innovation Awards. The CHECK program targets Medicaid and CHIP patients in Cook County who are from 0-25 years of age and have asthma, sickle cell disease, diabetes, prematurity, or multiple chronic diseases. Through the use of community health workers, innovative technology tools, and mental health interventions, the CHECK program aims to:

  • Decrease Medicaid spending
  • Decrease school absenteeism
  • Increase patient engagement

The Health Strategy & Policy Team helps the CHECK program navigate relationships with the state Medicaid agency, Medicaid managed care plans, and the broader UI Health organization.

Great Lakes Practice Transformation Network

The Great Lakes Practice Transformation Network (GLPTN) is part of a nationwide effort funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve the quality of patient care while spending health care dollars more wisely.  The goal of practice transformation is higher-quality care – more carefully coordinated and with fewer unnecessary tests and procedures – leading to better care, fewer hassles, and lower costs.

The GLPTN brings together 11,500 clinicians across the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan in order to share, adapt, and further develop their comprehensive quality improvement strategies. To support this work, the network will train and deploy quality improvement advisors (QIAs) to coach clinicians through the five phases of patient-centric practice transformation and to provide direct technical assistance on local quality improvement efforts. At UIC, we will be focusing on improvement in our primary care clinics across the system, including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and Mile Square Health Centers. Together, GLPTN is working to improve the quality and reliability of care for a population of more than 10 million Americans in the region.

The Health Policy and Strategy team provides project management for the grant. We also help coordinate across the primary care departments that will be participating, and work to align this effort with other healthcare delivery transformations occurring within UI Health.

Office contact: Anna Wojcik