The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation was created by Congress to help transform the Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP programs to deliver better healthcare, better health and reduced costs through improvement. The Center has created an interesting Innovation Advisors Program with the goal of creating a network of experts in improving the delivery system for Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.

As stated on the Innovation Centers web site selected Innovation Advisors will:

  • Support the Innovation Center in testing new models of care delivery;
  • Utilize their knowledge and skills in their home organization or area in pursuit of the three-part aim of improving health, improving care, and lowering costs through continuous improvement;
  • Work with other local organizations or groups in driving delivery system reform;
  • Develop new ideas or innovations for possible testing of diffusion by the Innovation Center; and
  • Build durable skill in system improvement throughout their area or region.

73 individuals out of 920 applications have been selected through a competitive process to participate in the initiative. The first group of Innovation Advisors started their six-month intensive orientation and applied research period in January 2012. Another group of Advisors will start in a few months with the goal of selecting 200 people in the first year.

Each participating Advisor’s home organization will receive a $20,000 stipend to cover participating in the program and travel costs. The Advisors are expected to commit up to 10 hours per week during an initial six-month period of a one year program. Advisors will receive guidance and information related to the activities of the program in various on-site and in-person meetings as well as ongoing meetings that will occur primarily through remote, virtual sessions.  Advisors will also meet together at a regional level each quarter and at Center once each year to exchange insights, report on breakthrough successes and solve joint challenges.

Sounds like an interesting approach to creating a network of change agents at the local level in conjunction with national support. What do you think about the Innovation Advisors Program? Could this approach be replicated at a state and local government level to create a network of change agents to improve how government operates?

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