June 15, 2012
Harkin Announces Affordable Care Act Award for University of Iowa
Health Care Innovation Awards support innovative projects nationwide
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that the University of Iowa has been selected as one of 81 new Health Care Innovation awardees made possible by the health care law, the Affordable Care Act. The awards support innovative projects nationwide designed to deliver high-quality medical care, enhance the health care workforce, and save money.
As part of the award, the University will receive a grant of $7.6 million over three years to fund the work of transitional care teams in rural areas. These teams will improve quality and reduce costs for patients with complex illnesses. The program is estimated to save $12.5 million in health system costs. Harkin, as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, played a pivotal role in passage of the Affordable Care Act. He is also chairman of an Appropriations subcommittee that funds health initiatives.
“Iowans continue to see the benefits of health reform and this grant award represents the best of our state’s innovation and research capacity in health care,” said Harkin. “The University of Iowa is pursuing innovative approaches to health care delivery – particularly in rural areas. With this award, they will have additional resources to continue their work, while increasing access to quality care and creating jobs.”
Details of the project are as follows:
The University of Iowa, in partnership with the 11 hospitals comprising its Critical Access Hospital Network, is receiving an award to improve care coordination and communication with practitioners in ten rural Iowa counties. The program will serve Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare/Medicaid dual-eligible beneficiaries and privately insured and uninsured patients who have complex illness, including psychiatric disorders, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, endocrine and gastrointestinal disorders, and geriatric issues. The program will coordinate care through teams comprised of nurses, social workers, and pharmacists along with specialty physicians (including psychiatrists) using telehealth and web-based personal health records. The program is based on the University of Iowa’s significant pas experience in creating telehealth care teams for patients with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart failure. It will increase access to services and specialty care, improve care transitions and care coordination, and decrease avoidable hospital readmissions of complex patients in rural counties in Iowa.
Over a three-year period, the University of Iowa’s program will train an estimated 22 workers and will create an estimated 28 jobs. The new hires will include eleven community coordinators, two project managers, a program secretary, an outcomes analyst, a qualitative analyst, a database manager, nurse team leaders, social workers, and an informatics director.