Washington, D.C. – In a new, nationwide contest announced today, communities and software developers will compete to develop software applications (“apps”) that get personalized, actionable information to people least likely to take advantage of the digital revolution. The Apps for Communities Challenge is
part of the FCC’s and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s efforts to foster digital inclusion and
promote broadband adoption. Details are posted at Appsforcommunities.challenge.gov.
Surrounded by Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco and Mayor Chuck Reed of
San Jose, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the contest. “This challenge uses the power of
broadband and the ingenuity of creative thinkers across America to help advance our country’s broadband agenda,” said Chairman Genachowski. “I expect we’ll see great new apps that use public data to help people all over the country seize the broadband revolution and improve their access to jobs, health care and educational opportunities.”
“In the digital age, access to the Internet is fundamental to democracy. To the extent that a large portion of Americans have no broadband access, they can’t fully participate in this society and they also can’t become part of the demand that will drive further innovation. We are proud to partner with the FCC in an
effort to increase access to the Internet for all Americans and to entice them to actively use that access,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. He added, “Contests can promote innovation in all sorts of unexpected ways. This particular challenge is designed to encourage and reward
people for solving local problems through technology. ‘Tech-for-engagement’ is in its infancy but holds
The Apps for Communities Challenge seeks to take advantage of the local, public information coming online – on topics from education to health care, child care, government services and jobs – and make it
easily accessible to the public. Contestants will be asked to turn that information into content, apps and
services that expand people’s choices on critical issues. These apps could, for example, give people valuable information about their communities in an easily digestible graphic on their mobile devices; help seniors, immigrants, and others use tools such as Skype to communicate; allow consumers to choose a
health care provider; or deliver contract and seasonal job post alerts in English and Spanish via text message. Knight Foundation is offering $100,000 dollars in prizes, with additional prizes awarded to the best apps that reach and engage traditionally underserved communities—people with disabilities, seniors, and those
whose first language is not English.
The Apps for Communities Challenge is posted on Challenge.gov, a new website and digital platform where entrepreneurs, innovators and citizen solvers can compete for prizes by providing novel solutions to problems large and small.
For additional information, contact Ellen Satterwhite at email@example.com.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change.
For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
For more news and information about the FCC please visit www.fcc.gov
New rules will make Medicaid more flexible and efficient, helping states provide better care and lower costs
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced four initiatives to give states more flexibility to adopt innovative new practices and provide better, more coordinated care for people with Medicaid and Medicare while helping reduce costs for states and families. The initiatives support the Obama administration’s work to make Medicaid more flexible and efficient and to address long-term cost growth. Several of the announcements also help implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Today HHS announced:
* Fifteen states will receive federal funding to develop better ways to coordinate care for people with Medicare and Medicaid coverage, also known as dual eligibles, who often have complex and costly health care needs.
* All states will receive increased flexibility to provide home and community-based services for more people living with disabilities.
* All states are eligible to receive more money to develop simpler and more efficient information technology (IT) systems to modernize Medicaid enrollment.
* A proposal by the state of New Jersey for flexibility to expand health coverage for nearly 70,000 low-income residents has been approved.
“Medicaid programs provide health coverage for millions of low-income Americans who otherwise would lack access to health care,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “With these new resources and flexibilities, states will have new options to make their Medicaid programs work better for the people they serve, while helping lower their costs.”
Coordinated Care for People with Medicare and Medicaid
Under a new initiative funded by the Affordable Care Act, 15 states will receive up to $1 million each to develop new ways to meet the often complex and costly medical needs of the approximately nine million Americans who are eligible for both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, known as “dual eligibles.” The goal of the program is to eliminate duplication of services for these patients, expand access to needed care and improve the lives of dual eligibles, while lowering costs. The new Federal Coordinated Health Care Office, or the Duels Office, at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), was created by the Affordable Care Act to improve care for dual eligibles and will work with the states to implement the top strategies to coordinate primary, acute, behavioral and long-term supports and services for dual eligibles, improving quality and lowering costs.
The 15 states that will receive these funds are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
“Beneficiaries who are in both Medicare and Medicaid can face different benefit plans, different rules for how to get those benefits and potential conflicts in care plans among providers who do not coordinate with each other,” said Donald M. Berwick, M.D., administrator of CMS. “This can be disastrous for those beneficiaries who are most vulnerable and in need of help.”
Helping People with Disabilities Live in their Communities
CMS proposed new rules today giving states new flexibility for their programs to help people with disabilities choose to live in their communities rather than in institutions. The proposed rules reduce administrative barriers for states seeking to help multiple populations, which may include seniors and/or people with different types of disabilities. They will also allow individuals to participate in the design of their own array of services and supports, including such things as personal care and respite services for caregivers.
“These long awaited rules will help people living with disabilities realize the promise of the ADA to live in the least restrictive environments possible for them—like their own homes,” said Henry Claypool, director of the Office on Disability at HHS. “With these new tools as well as incentives included in the Affordable Care Act, states, working closely with advocacy groups, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders, can more easily develop effective plans to improve options for people with disabilities. We hope states will take advantage of this new flexibility.”
The proposed rule, CMS-2296-P, can be found at www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx.
Developing and Upgrading Medicaid IT Enrollment Systems
New rules issued today will provide 90-percent of the cost for states to develop and upgrade their IT systems to help people enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – and 75-percent of ongoing operational costs. This increase over the previous federal matching rate of 50-percent will help states prepare for the Medicaid improvements and expansion that will come in 2014 from the Affordable Care Act, when many more Americans will be eligible for these programs, and to coordinate enrollment with the Exchanges. The rules establish performance standards for the improved eligibility systems to promote greater efficiency and a more consumer-friendly enrollment process.
The final regulation, CMS-2346-F, can be found at www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx.
Expanding Health Coverage in New Jersey
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today approved a Section 1115 demonstration for New Jersey that will expand health coverage to nearly 70,000 uninsured, low-income people through the Work First New Jersey program. In addition, the state will increase care coordination to improve health outcomes for participants in the program.
“This demonstration is yet another example of the many flexibilities states have to adapt their Medicaid programs to better serve their residents,” said Secretary Sebelius. “I want to commend New Jersey for expanding coverage to people in need.”
For more information about these announcements, visit www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp.