CMS Awards Special Innovation Projects to Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations

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On October 20, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the award of 20 two-year Special Innovation Projects (SIPs) to 12 Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs). The SIPs offer QIN-QIOs and their partners — clinicians, schools of higher education, innovation labs and Medicare beneficiaries and their families — the opportunity to address critical health care issues important to their constituencies in areas of quality improvement that may be underutilized yet represent a significant opportunity if spread locally, regionally or nationally.

QIN-QIOs were eligible to submit proposals for two types of SIPs in 2016: projects addressing issues of quality occurring within the QIN-QIOs’ local service area (“Advance Local Efforts for Better Care at Lower Cost”); and projects focusing on expanding the scope and national impact of quality improvement interventions that have proven success in limited areas or scope (“Interventions that are Ready for Spread and Scalability”). These high leverage topic areas include streamlining patient flow in health care settings; working with health plans and care coordination providers on approaches to post-acute care that result in enhanced care management; increasing value, patient affordability and appropriate use of specialty drugs by applying evidenced based criteria to prescribing practices; addressing acute pain management in sickle cell patients; and utilizing big data analytics to reduce preventable harm in health care.

According to a joint statement issued by Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator at CMS; Kate Goodrich, Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ); and Dennis Wagner, Director, Quality Improvement and Innovation Group, CCSQ: We are committed to innovation and are excited to study the results produced by these SIPs and to identify ways in which to incorporate them throughout the QIO Program based upon their results. The SIPs create an exciting opportunity for providers, professional organizations, innovation labs and others to innovate and impact health care quality in the Medicare program at local, regional and national levels through the QIO Program.”

To see a full list of the SIP award winners, their proposal titles and project synopses, please see this QIO Program announcement.