On June 13, 2012, Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr., M.D. (R-La.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, wrote to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting information on a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) grant program run by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). In the letter, Rep. Boustany expressed concern that the “grant making activities at CMMI reveal a lack of transparency and suggest the possible waste of taxpayer dollars.”
PPACA gives CMMI authority to spend $10 billion over ten years to provide Health Care Innovation Awards to programs that “test innovative payment and service delivery models” with the goal of improving quality of care. As part of CMMI’s Health Care Innovation Challenge, the first round of grants was announced this past May and awarded twenty-six recipients $122.6 million in grant funds, ranging from approximately $1 million to $30 million per awardee for a three-year period. The second round of grants, recently announced on June 15, awarded grant funds to eighty-one recipients.
Rep. Boustany criticized the lack of administrative and judicial review of CMMI’s activities pertaining to the Health Care Innovation Awards, including the application process and selection of awardees. He also inquired as to why certain funded projects anticipated a “negative return on investments.” Rep. Boustany requested that Secretary Sebelius provide by June 27 details of CMMI’s grant program, including:
- Copies of all Health Care Innovation Challenge applications reviewed for the May 2012 award;
- A detailed description of the process by which review teams were assembled and awardees were chosen, including the names of reviewers, a list of grant applications reviewed, and communications related to award decisions; and
- An explanation of CMMI’s process for determining projected savings for the funded projects.