Berwick is using a tool that Congress included in the new health care law: an innovation center with $10 billion to spend over the next decade in a quest for the best ways of improving care and reducing costs.
The launch of the test sites by the end of 2011 is just a first step in changing the fundamental ways the government pays physicians and hospitals. Over 10 years, the innovation center’s work is expected to save $1.3 billion on the $500 billion annual budget of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services...
A CMS spokesperson wouldn't comment on which sites might be funded, or any other details of the program, but it seems clear that Dr. Berwick, the former CEO of Cambridge-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement, will back the kind of innovative projects that he's been focused on for years: those that contains costs, hone in on patient safety and deliver quality care. Indeed, in January, before he took on his current post, Dr. Berwick told a gathering of health care experts in Boston that he was working with Atul Gawande (the surgeon, New Yorker writer and big thinker on health care) and others to identify regions of the U.S. that provide high quality medical care at costs lower than the rest of the nation.
This program aired on September 7, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.