HHS announces new care reform awards

Federal health officials are doling out more funds to private groups in an effort to improve how medical care is delivered to patients.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its second round of awards on Wednesday in a program designed to promote better care delivery and coordination in local communities.

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In the latest stage of the program, HHS is focused on several specific areas of reform, including improvements to emergency, rural and pediatric care.

The program is designed to lower costs for public healthcare programs in outpatient settings, improve the care and health of specific patient populations, and help providers transform their financial and clinical models, HHS said.

Its grantees span the country and include a range of stakeholders involved in patient care, from public health departments, clinics and hospitals to medical schools, associations and charities.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administration Marilyn Tavenner called the program an "historic effort" to improve care delivery by testing new healthcare models.

"These awards will help spur private and public sector innovation in this endeavor," Tavenner said in a  statement.

The program's total funding is now up to $360 million, with individual awards ranging from $2 to $23.8 million.