The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, part of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded $122.6 million for 26 projects nationwide — including $9.7 million for three in the Philadelphia region — designed to improve care and reduce health-care costs in urban and rural areas.

Among those receiving money in the first batch of such awards under the Affordable Care Act was Cooper University Hospital in Camden, to expand the work of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.

"Outreach staff, funded by this grant, will work to ensure that the highest-cost, most complex patients receive face-to-face care coordination and health education at the hospital bedside, home, shelter, and street corner," said Jeffrey Brenner, executive director of the coalition.

Cooper estimated that over three years the $2.79 million grant would enable it to train 14 health-care workers and reach an additional 1,200 patients.

Finity Communications Inc. of Portland, Ore., won $4.97 million to implement, with Health Partners of Philadelphia Inc., a program to track and monitor more than 120,000 at-risk patients in the Philadelphia region. George Washington University received $1.94 million to use telemedicine in the treatment of patients with severe kidney disease, first in Washington, then in southern Maryland and Philadelphia.

An additional $4.97 million was awarded to Joslin Diabetes Center Inc., an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, to continue a program for diabetes education, field testing, and risk assessment in central and Western Pennsylvania, as well as New Mexico and Washington.

Richard Jackson, a Joslin physician, said the center would use the money to reach diabetes patients though Pennsylvania State University's cooperative extension and outreach services.

"We need to go where people are," Jackson said.

Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or