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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced the first batch of organizations for Health Care Innovation awards including a program serving patients in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative received $10.4 million to provide nursing care and pharmacy support to help people with Medicare manage chronic disease.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 3 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.”The 26 projects include collaborations of leading hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technology innovators, community-based organizations, and patients’ advocacy groups, among others, located in urban and rural areas that will begin work this year to address health care issues in local communities. This initiative allows applicants to come up with their best ideas to test how we can quickly and efficiently improve the quality and affordability of health care.Other awards to help improve care for patients in the greater Philadelphia area include:· An award of nearly $5 million to Finity Communications, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, to improve health care for high need populations in the greater Philadelphia area. The project is using health information technology to engage patients in their own care, emphasizing prevention and wellness.· An award of nearly $2 million for a program by the George Washington University for dialysis patients. The program is using telemedicine to offer real-time health monitoring to improve patient safety and treatment, and will expand to patients in the Philadelphia and Southern Maryland areas.· An award of nearly $5 million to Joslin Diabetes Center, Inc., of Boston, to help people with Medicare and Medicaid understand their risks for diabetes, and improve health habits for the prevention and management of the disease. The program will target at risk and underserved populations in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.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’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is administering these awards through cooperative agreements over 3 years.