Nearly 300 hospitals have applied for a piece of a $6 million grant program designed to help them develop integrated delivery systems.
The 282 applicants is "about what we expected," said Richard Bogue, health services research director at the Hospital Research and Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association.
Bogue also directs the grant program, dubbed the Community Care Network Demonstration Program. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is funding the program through a $6 million grant awarded to the HRET last July.
The co-sponsors of the program are the AHA, the Catholic Health Association and VHA.
The program will award grants to 20 applicants attempting to put together what the AHA calls "community-care networks," or seamless, community-based healthcare delivery systems. The push for the creation of such networks was a key plank in the AHA's national healthcare reform plan.
The AHA publicly has used hospital interest in the grant program as a barometer of how much hospitals want to help their communities improve their overall health status.
In a recent AHA publication, President Richard Davidson reported that more than 3,500 hospitals and other organizations have "flooded" the AHA and the HRET with requests for information about the grant program.
"One striking feature of many of the hospitals and health systems that have expressed interest in the project is that they realize the success of the institution is inextricably linked to the health and vitality of its community," he said.
It's also free money to help implement what many hospitals have been trying to do anyway. Most of the three-year grants will range from $100,000 to $300,000, the HRET says.
The list of applicants will be whittled down to a group of 30 to 50 finalists by the end of July. The grants will be awarded in late August.