9-25-15 Feature Story:
The Partnership for Community Health, an initiative of Neighborhood Health Plan and Partners HealthCare in partnership with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, announced it has awarded $6 million in Excellence and Innovation grants for community health centers (CHCs) statewide, including funding to develop a groundbreaking opiate therapy management program in Charlestown, Revere and Chelsea.
Partnership officials, with support from Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, announced 12 new grants to support 22 community health centers across Massachusetts. The announcement was made at an event in Charlestown at Massachusetts General Hospital's Community Health Center, which received $540,000 to develop new and more effective ways to assist area patients with opioid use disorder and those on chronic opioid therapy.
"The people of Boston deserve the right to access affordable, quality healthcare," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "I am honored to provide support to Neighborhood Health Plan, Partners HealthCare, and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers for the Partnership for Community Health Initiative and I look forward to seeing the results of their efforts in bringing positive change to the community."
The initiative will give MGH Community Health Center sites in Charlestown, Revere and Chelsea the capacity to identify at-risk patients, track those patients over time, and improve care for patients with opioid use disorder and those on chronic opioid therapy. Such patients include those managing chronic pain; those with opioid use disorder, including patients being treated with buprenorphine maintenance therapy for opioid disorder; and those with chronic Hepatitis C infection. The project will create a patient registry for each of these categories and will staff positons to manage the program.
"This grant allows each of these centers to create new approaches to care for patients with opioid use disorder and those on chronic opioids for pain. This will serve these three communities, help establish standards of care, and ensure safe and effective treatment for all patients," said Sarah Wakeman, MD, Medical Director for Substance Use Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Launched in 2012, the Partnership for Community Health has committed over $16 million in funding to support the continued efforts of community health centers to reduce barriers to access, promote health equity, and provide care for patients in their communities. The two year Excellence and Innovation grants are focused on new initiatives that improve the patient experience, increase capacity to serve more patients, and support the successful work of CHCs in implementing high-quality, cost-saving strategies such as care coordination.
"NHP has a longstanding commitment to community health centers and the critical and innovative role they play in serving communities throughout Massachusetts," said Neighborhood Health Plan President and CEO David Segal. "The Partnership for Community Health grants support this innovation by funding new initiatives that allow the centers to continuously improve quality and cost efficiency on behalf of their patients."
"Community Health Centers are an essential part of the health care ecosystem," said Peter Slavin, MD, President of Massachusetts General Hospital. "Health centers enable us to better understand and meet the needs of our local communities. This grant initiative will foster new clinical innovations across Massachusetts - patients everywhere will benefit from the programs developed and the lessons we learn."
"Massachusetts health centers have been pioneering new wellness initiatives for the state's communities since 1965," said James W. Hunt, Jr., President and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. "We are grateful for these leading investments from the Partnership, which will go far in building upon the legacy of health centers in advancing primary care."
Following a competitive application process, 12 grantees were selected for individual or collaborative, multi-organizational grants. Specific CHC initiatives supported by the grants include: funded staff positions called "quality navigators" that use patient health data to support self-management activities for cancer and hypertension prevention in underserved communities in Boston; a telehealth initiative on Cape Cod and the Vineyard that supports remote patient care for people with chronic conditions; automated kiosks to speed patient check-in in Worcester; and a care coordination call center that will make preventive care reminder calls in the South Shore.
The Excellence and Innovation grant recipients are listed below:
- Bowdoin Street Health Center
- Caring Health Center
- Codman Square Health Center
- Community Health Center of Cape Cod
- Dimock Community Health Center
- DotHouse Health
- East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
- Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
- Family Health Center of Worcester
- Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center
- Harbor Family Services, Inc.
- Island Health Care
- Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center
- Lynn Community Health Center
- Manet Community Health Center
- Mattapan Community Health Center
- MGH Community Health Center
- South Boston Community Health Center
- South Cove Community Health Center
- South End Community Health Center
- Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center
- Upham's Corner Health Center