Obama administration offers up $1 billion for hiring and training healthcare workers

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The Obama administration announced Monday the availability of $1 billion in grants for innovative healthcare organizations and projects that can train and hire workers quickly.

Funded by the Affordable Care Act, the grants are part of Health Care Innovation Challenge. Applicants should show creative ways to deliver high-quality, low-cost services, and priority will be given to projects that focus on rapid workforce development, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Recent data shows long-term care is a bright spot for job growth. Grants for the Innovation Challenge can go to physicians, community groups, local governments, faith-based organizations and Medicare and Medicaid-funded programs and organizations, according to HHS.

“When I visit communities across the country, I continually see innovative solutions at the very ground level – a large health system working with community partners to decrease the risk of diabetes with nutrition programs or a church group that sends volunteers to help home-bound seniors so they can live at home,” said Donald M. Berwick, M.D., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “By putting more programs like this in place and more ‘boots on the ground,' these types of programs can truly transform our health care system.”

Letters of intent for the grants are due Dec. 19 and grant applications are due Jan. 27, 2012. They can be submitted electronically at www.grants.gov. The anticipated award date is March 30, 2012. Awards can range in size from $1 million to $30 million over three years.

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