UH Case Medical Center awarded $4.7 million grant from HHS

July 10, 2014

CLEVELAND - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a three-year grant to University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center totaling $4.7 million to support a new national model aimed at improving care for patients with complex cancer.

Titled "Evidence-Conformant Oncology Care," the project will test a unique model developed at UH to enhance care for adult cancer patients with late-stage disease, significant comorbidities, or demonstrated need for high health care utilization.

"We believe that the best cancer care assures that patients understand their condition and recommended treatments, that patients are engaged as partners in decision making and that caregivers are attuned to the personal side of the patient as well as the medical," said Nathan Levitan, MD, President of UH Seidman Cancer Center.

In order to achieve this level of care, complex cancer patients will receive four specific interventions that will be partially supported by the grant: (1.) Patients will receive a written set of treatment recommendations in language that they can understand. (2.) Patients will be assigned to a navigator to help them understand what they are being advised, to support them between appointments and to be aware of special needs at home. (3.) Patients will have an early and ongoing palliative care consultation to help them achieve balance between treatment intervention and quality of life. (4.) There will be ongoing assessments of pain, anxiety, psychological stress and other individual needs.

HHS' announcement of the prospective grant awardees brings the total amount of funding to $360 million for 39 recipients in 27 states and the District of Columbia. The diverse projects are funded under the Health Care Innovation Awards program, designed to deliver better health care and lower costs. These awards, which range from an expected $2 million to $23.8 million, are made possible by the Affordable Care Act and round out the anticipated recipients for round two of the Health Care Innovation Awards program.

"The Health Care Innovation Awards support our ongoing work to drive down health care costs while providing high quality care to CMS beneficiaries," said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in a news release. "These awards advance innovative solutions in delivering and improving care from all across our nation."

UH will apply specific measurement tools to evaluate how this individualized care affects outcomes and patient satisfaction and will develop a care model that hospitals nationwide can replicate. The grant will help UH hire additional cancer-care professionals, including social workers, palliative care specialists and "navigators" who will promote communication between each patient and the patient's medical team and keep patients engaged in their personal care plans.

The model targets approximately 1,800 patients, including 300 underserved patients. It will include patients with late-stage cancer; patients whose cancer is complicated by additional illnesses, poverty or lack of caregiving help and patients who are high risks for emergency or intensive care.

"We are deeply committed to this innovative model of care and we are confident that it will improve the quality of care, enhance the experience of care for patients and families, and reduce the cost of care through a balanced utilization of health care resources," said Dr. Levitan.

UH was previously awarded a similar grant from the federal government in May 2012 of $12.7 million to UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. The grant initiated Rainbow Care Connection, a national model aimed at improving care, lowering costs and improving the overall health and wellness of children. The model, which targets over 68,000 children with Medicaid insurance as well as children with other insurance in several counties across Northeast Ohio, is designed to create collaborations with primary care providers, hospitals and managed care and health educators in order to provide children with the highest quality of care while containing costs.
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More information on the grants is available at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/07/20140709b.html

About University Hospitals

University Hospitals, the second largest employer in Northeast Ohio with 25,000 employees, serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 12 hospitals, 26 outpatient centers and primary care physician offices in 15 counties. At the core of our $3.5 billion health system is University Hospitals Case Medical Center, one of only 18 hospitals in the country to have been named to U.S. News & World Report's most exclusive rankings list: the Best Hospitals 2013-14 Honor Roll. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, UH Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research centers of excellence in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopaedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, transplantation and genetics. Its main campus includes UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University. For more information, go to http://www.uhhospitals.org

University Hospitals Case Medical Center

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