Dr. Betty Vohr and Women & Infants to receive $3.2 million to improve health care

May 8th, 2012
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced that Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island is among the first batch of organizations selected for Health Care Innovation awards. Made possible by the health care law – the Affordable Care Act – the awards will support 26 innovative projects nationwide that will save money, deliver high quality medical care, and enhance the health care workforce. The preliminary awardees announced today expect to reduce health spending by $254 million over the next three years.

"We can't wait to support innovative projects that will save money and make our health care system stronger, said Secretary Sebelius. "It's yet another way we are supporting local communities now in their efforts to provide better care and lower cost."

Women & Infants Hospital is receiving more than $3.2 million to expand the Transition Home Plus Program for approximately 2,400 mothers in Rhode Island over three years who have pre-term babies. Under the leadership of Betty Vohr, MD, medical director of the Neonatal Follow-Up Program in the Department of Pediatrics at Women & Infants Hospital and professor of pediatrics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, the intervention will train and deploy Family Care Teams to offer education and support and monitor infants' growth and development. It will also support primary care providers who help provide care for this at-risk population. The result will be reduced emergency room visits, fewer hospital readmissions, and decreased neonatal morbidity.

This approach will lower cost while improving health and health care for pre-term babies in Rhode Island with estimated savings of approximately $3.7 million. Over the three-year period, Women & Infants' program will train an estimated 120 health care workers, while creating an estimated 13 new jobs.

"I am deeply honored and thrilled," said Dr. Vohr. "This award will afford us the opportunity to expand our Transition Home Plus Program to care not only for extremely preterm babies, but also those babies who were moderate or late preterm and are therefore at risk for complications following discharge home. We have a wonderful team of caregivers who will provide services and support for these families."

Preliminary awardees were chosen not only for their innovative solutions to the health care challenges facing their communities, but also for their focus on creating a well-trained health care workforce that is equipped to meet the need for new jobs in the 21st century health system. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the health care and social assistance sector will gain the most jobs between now and 2020.

Today's awards total $122.6 million. CMS's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is administering these awards through cooperative agreements over three years.

Earlier this year it was announced that Dr. Vohr, along with her Care New England colleague Nancy Roberts, president and chief executive officer of the VNA of Care New England, were selected to be part of the CMS Innovation Advisors Program. This initiative, launched by the CMS Innovation Center in October 2011, is helping health professionals deepen skills that will drive improvements to patient care and reduce costs.

Provided by Women & Infants Hospital

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