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NHP, Partners and the League Announce $4.25 Million in First Round Grants for Health Centers

1-16-13 Feature Story:

Lawrence and Brockton, MA -- Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP) and Partners HealthCare yesterday announced they are providing a total of $4.25 million in a first round of grants through the Partnership for Community Health to the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers' ("the League") 49 members. The announcement was made at both Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, two of the 49 first-round grantees.

The community health centers have each chosen a project related to infrastructure improvement that will allow them to continue their efforts to reduce barriers to access, promote health equity and provide care for patients in their communities. Every health center in Massachusetts that applied received a grant.

During the next 15 years, the Partnership for Community Health will provide up to $90 million in grant funding to CHCs to develop and launch measurable programs that enhance health outcomes, service, efficiencies and quality of care. Grants will focus on projects that support expanded programs and improve the infrastructure of CHCs.

In this first round of funding, grants were awarded in four categories:

  • Health Information Technology Reporting: For the purchase, implementation and training of staff on new information technology systems designed to enhance patient care and improve patient health through the collection and application of valid and timely health data.
  • Meaningful Use Training: For staff training on how to meet a core set of federally-mandated objectives for using health technology to improve the delivery of health care and the health outcomes of patients. Under the national health reform law, achieving Meaningful Use determines whether a health care organization can receive incentive payments from the federal government for care provided to Medicaid and Medicare patients.
  • Medical Coding Training: To assist health centers in meeting new coding requirements established by the Affordable Care Act. This funding provides clinicians with the necessary knowledge and skills for accurately documenting the complexity of care among their patient populations, and to ensure the necessary revenue to support that care.
  • Training and Capacity Building for Performance Improvement: To provide opportunities for health center staff teams to participate in structured Performance Improvement programs. These teams gain the knowledge and competencies critical for building and sustaining quality improvement across their organizations.

"Neighborhood Health Plan's mission is rooted in providing better access to health care for underserved populations throughout the state," said NHP President and CEO Deborah C. Enos. "This first round of grants is vital in our effort to enhance our support for the community health centers that care for so many of our members."

"Community health centers are a cornerstone of an accessible, high-quality, and cost-effective health care delivery system, particularly for the underserved," said Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, President and CEO, Partners HealthCare. "The Partnership for Community Health is a crucial initiative that will support the state's community health centers for years come in serving the needs of patients across the Commonwealth."

"This first round of grants will help CHCs prepare for the changes that health reform has brought, while allowing them to continue delivering their innovative care to the more than 800,000 patients they serve statewide," said the League's President and CEO James W. Hunt, Jr.

Featured speakers for yesterday's press events were Robert Ingala, CEO of Greater Lawrence Family Health Center; Sue Joss, Executive Director of Brockton Neighborhood Health Center; Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, President and CEO of Partners; Deborah C. Enos, President and CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan; James W. Hunt, Jr., President and CEO of the League; Lauren Smith, Interim Commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Public Health; Cheryl Bartlett, RN, Director, Bureau of Community Health and Prevention Massachusetts Department of Public Health; Matt Fishman, VP of Community Health of Partners; Mayor Linda Balzotti, Brockton; Dr. Joe Gravel, CMO at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center; and Dr. Jennifer Sabir, Interim CMO at Manet Community Health Center. Other attendees included State Senator Tom Kennedy, State Representative Claire Cronin, State Representative Michael Brady, State Senator Barry Finegold, State Representative Frank Moran, State Representative Diana DiZoglio, and a staff member from Congressman Lynch's office.

After the first round of grants, the CHCs will be eligible to apply for grants through a competitive application process.

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