A Medical Device Daily

Seven states will receive a share of more than $8 million in federal grants to increase awareness of home- and community-based long-term care options for people leaving hospitals who otherwise may enter a traditional nursing home, according to CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems, acting administrator for the Cemters for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The grants are part of the Real Choice Systems Change (RCSC) program, designed to help states and territories "rebalance," CMS said, their long-term support programs to help people with chronic illness or disabilities reside in their homes.

More than $7 million of the awards will be used to develop person-centered hospital discharge planning models that place greater emphasis on involving patients and their families in after-care plans, including exploring home-based alternatives to institutional care.

Of the states receiving awards, Kansas, Alaska, and South Carolina will enhance or expand the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) in their states; Oregon and Missouri will develop new ADRCs. An ADRC is a community-based organization that provides information and assistance to people needing social services.

An additional $574,613 will supplement grants that were awarded in FY07 to Wisconsin and Alaska so they can continue their Person-Centered Planning Implementation programs for another two years.

"These awards are a clear sign of the continued commitment of this administration to increase opportunities for home and community-based long-term care services so that individuals who want to stay in their own homes and in their own communities can do so," Weems said.

Since 2001, CMS has awarded 314 Real Choices grants of about $284 million to 50 states, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbia.

In other grants news:

The Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center (GCIC; Cleveland), a Wright Mega Center of Innovation funded by the Ohio Third Frontier Program, has completed its third round of commercialization funding awards, approving grants to eight companies focused on cardiovascular research and product development: Arteriocyte (Cleveland), Athersys (Cleveland), CardioInsight (Cleveland), Cleveland Heart (North Carolina), Evolva (Basel, Switzerland), PeriTec (Clveland), VitalStream Health (Boston) and ZIN Medical (Brook Park, Ohio).

The three companies not Ohio-based have committed to establishing business operations in Ohio.

The latest round of funding comprises awards totaling $2.93 million to Arteriocyte, Athersys and PeriTec, which have received funding from previous rounds, and they have received extensions for these projects in the third round. ZIN has also received funding during an earlier round; the third round of funding was awarded for a new project. To date, GCIC has awarded $9.46 million in grants to 31 companies.

Starting Oct. 1, GCIC will be accepting proposals for the forth round of commercialization funding. More information can be found at the Center's website, www.gcic.org.

The newly formed Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI; Fairfax, Virginia) said it has raised $3 million as part of its initial campaign goal and is on target to achieve its $10 million initial campaign goal.

Following an initial commitment of $5 million from the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (Fairfax), individual radiation oncologists have pledged nearly $1 million in commitments to date. Radiation therapy equipment manufacturer Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, California) has committed to a donation of $2 million.

"We all know that radiation therapy is one of the most powerful weapons available to patients fighting cancer, particularly in light of advances made in the last 10 years. Radiation therapy is not only clinically effective, it is cost effective, too," said Timothy Guertin, CEO of Varian. "[However], many patients, members of the public, referring physicians, surgical and medical oncologists, and policy makers continue to think of radiation as a therapy of last resort, rather than a therapy to be preferred."

ROI was established to enhance the profile of radiation oncology in the world cancer community.