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17 MA health centers awarded state funding as leaders & participants in partnerships to promote health, wellness

1-19-14 Feature Story:

BOSTON -- Representing the first major initiative of the state's Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, the Patrick Administration this week announced more than $40 million in grants to nine community-based partnerships that will focus on addressing chronic illness and improving health outcomes while reducing health care costs in communities across the state. Seventeen community health centers will participate in eight of the nine partnerships, two of which will be led by Holyoke Health Center and Manet Community Health Center located in Quincy.

"In Massachusetts, we believe that health care is a public good and every resident deserves access to affordable, quality care," said Governor Deval Patrick. "These grants will help us reach that goal by funding the intervention strategies proven to work."

"The Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund will help us promote innovative health and wellness programs in communities across our Commonwealth," said Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz. "By addressing the specific health needs that cause the most common chronic illnesses, we can reduce long term costs of health care."

Focused on community-specific challenges, the partnerships bring together municipalities, local businesses, community-based entities, health systems, and regional planning organizations to develop programs that address a range of health issues, including pediatric asthma, hypertension, and smoking. The partnership initiatives must reflect research-based interventions and achieve benchmarks related to health outcomes and cost savings on at least two of the four health issues pre-selected by the Trust.

"We are extremely grateful for the overwhelming recognition that health centers received in this first round of funding," said James W. Hunt, Jr., president & CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. "Community health centers continue to approach health and wellness from a broad perspective while also focusing on the unique needs of the communities they serve."

According to the Patrick Administration, each of the nine grantees will receive up to $250,000 for the first phase of their work. Additional funding -- ranging between $900,000 and $1.5 million -- will be provided in each of the next three years and will be released once grantees demonstrate readiness for implementation of community and clinical interventions. The amount each partnership receives will reflect the population covered and the number of conditions addressed.

Community health center awardees include: Community Health Center of Cape Cod, Duffy Health Center, Harbor Community Health Center at Hyannis, Bowdoin Street Health Center, Codman Square Health Center, Dimock Center, Dorchester House Multi-Service Center, Harbor Health Services, Upham's Corner Health Center, Whittier Street Health Center, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, Lynn Community Health Center, Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, HealthFirst Family Care Center, and Family Health Center of Worcester.

Created under Chapter 224, An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs Through Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Innovation, and administered by the Department of Public Health, the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund will provide $60 million in grant funding over the next four years.

Click here for a full list of funded partnerships.

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