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A successful government is one that learns from its’ past mistakes, infuses fresh ideas into the present and maintains a sharp eye on the market to prepare well for any probable future exigencies. The Obama administration faces an un-predictable future in the healthcare sector, as is evident from the study conducted by American Association of Medical Colleges. As per the AAMC research, US may be short by over 91,000 doctors in the next 10 years, with the worst spell expected to be around 2019-2020.

For the U.S Government, the need of the hour is to rake through the country’s healthcare industry and sift out compelling projects, ideas or successful community initiatives that can be instrumental in dealing with the imminent shortage of the number of practicing physicians over the next 10 years.

On November 14, 2011 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation, also known as the CMS Innovation Center, unveiled its Health Care Innovation Challenge initiative, with an aim to ‘improve care, save money, focus on health care costs.’ The letters of intent for the challenge are due shortly (December 19, 2011) and the closing date for submission of all formal applications is January 27, 2012.

Understanding the Innovation Challenge

The Health Care Innovation Challenge is a novel approach that seeks fresh, original and creative business ideas that can help in building a strong and stable U.S healthcare framework in a time and cost-efficient manner. The ‘We Can’t Wait’ campaign is the latest step under ‘The American Jobs Act’, intended to strengthen the US economy by creating more job opportunities for the US citizens.

Financial funding – or the lack thereof – is one of the primary factors that govern whether or not an idea can take flight. The Innovation challenge addresses this very constraint and is keen to invest in ideas that propose improved quality medical care at lower costs to Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees.

The selected models need to facilitate speedy hire, training and deployment of health professionals. Ideas will be graded on their ability to improve healthcare within the first six months of getting government funding and for drawing out a definite plan to increase CHIP/Medicaid/Medicare savings within 2-3 years.

The Obama administration has promised to invest around $1 billion over a 3-year period in the health care innovation project. Upfront monetary grants of $1 million to $30 million will be awarded to winning ideas that assist in more job generation and aid in the administration of excellent medical care at reduced costs.

Who all are eligible to apply?

The challenge has been thrown open for all institutions that have developed exceptional solutions in the past and can suggest similar powerful models to augment the current state of US healthcare industry. Healthcare providers, local governments, payers, faith-based organizations, community organizations, for-profit organizations, public-private partnerships and other private sector organizations, who possess a unique Tax Identification Number (TIN) and have a governing body to represent its members, are eligible to participate in the challenge. State governments are not allowed to apply for this challenge.

hCentive is excited about this initiative and will eagerly look out for bright new ideas that come out of this project. At the end of the day, we are confident that this will lead to a healthier nation and the benefactor will be the American population at large.

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