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MA health centers recognized as model for new approach to care delivery

2-22-11 Feature Story:

As the entire health care community struggles to find ways to deliver coordinated care in order to meet the demands of global payment and drive down costs, community health centers have already established a framework for doing just that.

Five Massachusetts health centers have received recent national recognition for putting in place a dynamic delivery model promoted by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality and coordination of care in the health system: Geiger Gibson Community Health Center (Dorchester), Neponset Health Center (Dorchester), Mid-Upper Cape Community Health Center (Hyannis), Revere Family Health and Union Square Family Health (Somerville).

The Physician Practice Connections® (PPC) Patient-Centered Medical Home™ (PCMH) model provides benefits for both patients and providers: patients gain more one-on-one time with their caregivers and become better engaged in their long-term health goals and treatment decisions. At the same time, the model promotes improved coordination of care within the health care system, cooperation among primary care team members and increased utilization of preventive care. Care is facilitated by health information technology, the identification and grouping of patients with similar health status and illness, and with regard to the socio-economic, cultural and linguistic needs of patients.

In addition, ten health centers have partnered with the Massachusetts' Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) in a Medical Home Demonstration Project to model primary care practice changes for the state's primary care providers. The partnership is one of five national project sites selected and sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, a national foundation focused on improving health system performance, with additional support from The Boston Foundation, Partners HealthCare, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

"Health centers are uniquely positioned to lead the way in developing the model of coordinated care our country needs to respond to the health care cost crisis," said James W. Hunt, Jr., president & CEO, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.

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