CMS Kicks Off Innovation Advisors Program

Margaret Dick Tocknell, October 18, 2011

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Monday that it is accepting applications for a program designed to help healthcare professionals drive improvements to patient care and reduce healthcare costs.

CMS administrator Don Berwick, M.D., was on hand to kick-off the $6 million program, which will recruit up to 200 innovation advisors "with the knowledge and the vision to find innovative ways to improve care and reduce costs for beneficiaries in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program." The CMS Innovation Center will manage the program.

Innovation advisors, who will be selected on a local and regional level, will include what Berwick calls "healthcare system insiders capable of managing change." That includes clinicians, allied health professionals, health administrators, physicians and nurses. Skill sets will include healthcare economics and finance; population health, systems analysis, and operations research.

The deadline for applications is Nov. 15; participants will be selected by Dec. 15. An initial group of 50 innovation advisors will be selected to gather in Washington, D.C in January 2012 to begin six months of orientation and training. A second group of 150 advisors will begin orientation by mid-2012. Training will include in-person national and regional meetings, virtual training sessions, seminars and presentations by healthcare experts.

One of the goals is for each participant to take what they learn during training and apply it to their home organizations and areas, explained Joe McCannon, senior advisor to Dr. Berwick. Innovation advisors will be expected to develop and implement a hands-on systems improvement project.

Margaret Dick Tocknell Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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