Two individuals from Care New England have been selected to be part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) Innovation Advisors Program. Chosen were Nancy Roberts, president and chief executive officer of the VNA of Care New England, and Betty Vohr, MD, medical director of the Neonatal Follow-Up Program in the Department of Pediatrics at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and professor of pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. This initiative, launched by the CMS Innovation Center in October 2011, will help health professionals deepen skills that will drive improvements to patient care and reduce costs.
Ms. Roberts and Dr. Vohr are two of 74 individuals from 27 states and the District of Columbia, who are participating in the Innovation Advisors Program. After an initial orientation phase, the Innovation Advisors will work with the CMS Innovation Center to test new models of care delivery in their own organizations and communities. They will also create partnerships to find new ideas that work and share them regionally and across the US. Funding for this initiative was made possible by the Affordable Care Act.
Dr. Vohr said, "I am both honored and excited to have the opportunity to work with CMS on an exciting and important initiative to improve care, improve outcomes, and decrease costs. My primary focus is the outcomes and costs for families of premature infants, and I am hopeful that by working with a team of experts in health care, we will make substantial progress in this area in the coming year."
"There has been an incredible groundswell of interest in becoming an Innovation Advisor. It's clear that doctors, hospitals and health care providers are enthusiastic about implementing the Affordable Care Act and strengthening our health care system," said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
The 74 individuals were selected from 920 applications through a competitive process and include clinicians, allied health professionals, health administrators and others. By attending in-person meetings as well as remote sessions to expand their skills and applying what they learn, the Advisors will be able to deepen their knowledge in health care economics and finance, population health, systems analysis, and operations research.
"We're looking to these Innovation Advisors to be our partners—we want them to discover and generate new ideas that will work and help us bring them to every corner of the United States," said CMS Innovation Center Director Rick Gilfillan, MD.
Among other duties, the Advisors will be expected to support the Innovation Center in testing new models of care delivery, to form partnerships with local organizations to drive delivery system reform, and to improve their own health systems so their communities will have better health and better care at a lower cost.
The VNA of Care New England and Women & Infants Hospital will each receive a stipend of up to $20,000. The stipend will be used to support Ms. Roberts' and Dr. Vohr's activities while serving as Innovation Advisors.
More information about the Innovation Advisors Program, including a fact sheet and a list of participants and their affiliated organizations, can be found at http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Innovation-Advisors-Program/.