Recent Press Releases

May 22 2014


U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today announced that Avera Health of Sioux Falls will receive an $8.8 million Health Care Innovation award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center to create a new virtual care center model, in partnership with the Good Samaritan Society, to improve the delivery of long term care and reduce costs.

“Congratulations to Avera Health for receiving an $8.8 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center,” said Johnson.  “This grant is projected to save $27 million over the next three years and improve care for over 7,000 elderly South Dakotans. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health care providers like Avera have access to new tools and the flexibility to implement important health care delivery reforms.”

Below is a summary of the award.

Here is a link to the Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center:

Health Care Innovation Awards: Project Profile


Project Title: "Avera Virtual Care Center: Improving Care & Reducing Costs for the Vulnerable Elderly Population"
Geographic Reach: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota
Estimated Funding Amount: $8,827,573

Summary: The Avera Virtual Care Center project will test the virtual wrapping of a set of comprehensive, resident-centered, geriatric care services around the long term care population. The project will operate in facilities located in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. The three primary drivers of this project include: building the assessment capability and toolkits of the long term care team of care providers; providing long term care facility residents with routine and early access to appropriate goal-directed care; and improving management of care transitions. A Virtual Care Team will host INTERACT II training sessions and skill building workshops for long term care staff and will facilitate widespread implementation of INTERACT II tools and treatment algorithms to support earlier identification of urgent issues. The INTERACT II implementation will be further supported by high-quality care planning resources and training to promote alignment of resident care goals and treatment plans. To address the geriatric care access gap, the Virtual Care Team will offer daily rounds, comprehensive geriatric assessments and urgent care visits to address resident health needs in a timely manner. These services will be provided out of a centrally staffed telemedicine hub, spreading the expertise of one team over 30 long term care centers. To maximize safety and continuity across transitional points in care, the Virtual Care Center team will promote the adoption of standardized tools and processes.


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