HHS makes available $1 billion for innovative healthcare hiring

The Department of Health and Human Services on Monday made available $1 billion for innovative healthcare projects that can start hiring quickly.

The Health Care Innovation Challenge, funded by the federal healthcare reform law, aims to test "creative ways to deliver high-quality healthcare services and lower costs" to people in government healthcare programs, according to an HHS fact sheet. Priority will be given to sustainable projects that can get off the ground within six months and rapidly hire, train and deploy "new types" of healthcare workers.

"We've taken incredible steps to reduce health care costs and improve care, but we can't wait to do more," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement announcing the initiative. "Both public and private community organizations around the country are finding innovative solutions to improve our health care system and the Health Care Innovation Challenge will help jump start these efforts."

Awards, ranging from $1 million to $30 million over three years, will be announced in March 2012. The deadline to apply is Jan. 27.