Virginia has won a $2.6 million grant to develop a state health innovation plan that will focus on reducing tobacco use and obesity, disease prevention, and mental health care.

The one-year grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the first that Virginia has received from a federal program to foster innovative approaches to delivering health care.

The Virginia Health Innovation plan will create accountable care communities in seven regions of the state to develop ways to improve health care delivery and outcomes in their areas. The plan will be developed by the Virginia Center for Health Innovation, which is collaborating with public and private health partners.

The state plans to seek a federal waiver under the Medicaid program that would allow Virginia to make incentive payments to hospitals and health systems for innovations in delivering health services and significant improvements in the quality of care.

"Given the many challenges we face in health care and behavioral health, this is the right time to take a big picture look at how we deliver these vital services," said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel.

mmartz@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6964

Twitter@mmartzRTD

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