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Sen. Moore joins Health Centers at State House; Centers promote need for state investments in proven model of care

8-21-13 Feature Story:

August 16, 2013 (Mashpee, Mass.) - Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP) and Partners HealthCare announced $215,000 in grants for Cape Cod community health centers (CHCs) through the Partnership for Community Health. The grants are part of a total of $4.25 million in a first round of grants that will benefit all 49 members of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. Senate President Therese Murray, Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz and Commissioner of the Department of Public Health Cheryl Bartlett joined local officials and community leaders during National Health Center Week for an event at Community Health Center of Cape Cod in Mashpee, MA to recognize the important role that CHCs play in providing access to quality and affordable health care.

"I thank the organizations that came together today to provide this grant to our health partners in the community. Community Health Centers are an integral part of our mission to enhance access to affordable quality care," said Secretary Polanowicz. "Community health centers help us increase access to preventative medicine in diverse communities, while reaching our cost containment goals. I look forward to continuing our partnerships through new opportunities for our Commonwealth's community health centers supported by the Affordable Care Act."

"As we move into the next phase of health reform in Massachusetts, these grants are an outstanding example of the kind of innovation we, in the Legislature, hoped for when we worked to pass Chapter 224," said Senate President Therese Murray. "This collaboration between Partners HealthCare, Neighborhood Health Plan, and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers is working to strengthen health centers across our state and helping to continue to provide quality, affordable care to more than 800,000 of our residents."

Each of the health centers awarded a grant have 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.

The Community Health Center of Cape Cod with locations in Mashpee, Falmouth and Bourne and Harbor Community Health Center in Hyannis will use these investments to enhance their ability to coordinate care across multidisciplinary teams of caregivers working to meet the health needs of patients. Outer Cape Health Services in Provincetown, Harwich and Wellfleet will use funds to train staff on performance improvement initiatives. Duffy Health Center in Hyannis will focus on improving health information technology reporting for patients who receive both medical and behavioral health services. Island Health Care, located in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, will provide staff training on the adoption of a nationally-recognized model of care management for patients diagnosed with chronic conditions.

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.

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.

"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.

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

From L-R: Dr. Gary Gottlieb, Matthew Fishman, Deborah Enos, DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, Karen Gardner, Senate President Therese Murray, EOHHS Secretary John Polanowicz, Heidi Nelson, Jim Hunt

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