(AP Photo/David Duprey)

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMII) is awarding $3.2 million in research funding to an Alzheimer’s and dementia care project at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The UCLA researchers are getting the grant to expand a program that will try to provide extra care coordination for about 1,000 Medicare and Medicaid plan enrollees who have Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions that cause dementia.

The researchers are hoping the program will save about $6.9 million over 3 years, or about $2,300 per patient per year.

The researchers will start by hiring 10 nurse practitioners and training them to be dementia care managers.

The 10 new dementia care managers will then provide dementia assessment and dementia management training for about 2,500 other UCLA staffers and volunteers, the researchers say.

The people with the dementia assessment training will try to use their training to expand a dementia registry, assess patients’ needs, and look for opportunities to shorten hospital stays and reduce the need for emergency room visits, the researchers say.

The CMII is paying for the grant with funding from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). The center, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has handed out a total of $123 million in grants this week to researchers who say they hope their projects could decrease the cost of health care while improving the quality of care.