August 18, 2014 (Hyannis, Mass.) —The Partnership for Community Health, an initiative of Neighborhood Health Plan and Partners HealthCare in partnership with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers is awarding $6 million in grants for community health centers (CHCs) throughout Massachusetts as part of its Excellence and Innovation round of funding in 2014. CHC grantees on Cape Cod and the Islands are sharing $3 million in grant funding with other CHCs across the state for joint projects and were recognized during an event at Harbor Community Health Center in Hyannis. Congressman William R. Keating and Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz, along with prominent local officials and community leaders attended the event.
Over 15 years, the Partnership will provide up to $90 million for Massachusetts community health centers in recognition of the pivotal role that CHCs play in providing access to high quality and affordable health care. Launched in 2012, the program is designed to support the continued efforts of CHCs to reduce barriers to access, promote health equity, and provide care for patients in their communities.
The current round of Excellence and Innovation 2014 grants will support pioneering community health center projects aimed at transforming operations, patient communications, and service delivery. The funding is also focused on improving services that are shared across health centers, encouraging CHCs to collaborate in new ways to find solutions to common problems.
“Community health centers are a dependable and accessible source of primary care for many people throughout Cape Cod and the Islands,” said U.S. Rep Keating. “I am proud to recognize the organizations that came together to provide grants to our health partners in the community. In addition to providing quality health care, these centers are also engines of economic activity and job creators. Today’s announcement will help more patients in our region get the care they need.”
“The Patrick Administration has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with community health centers in the work to tackle chronic health issues, strengthen care coordination and increase efficiencies in health care,” said HHS Secretary John Polanowicz. “These critical, long-term investments through the Partnership for Community Health will further strengthen our nation-leading community health centers as they work to expand their quality, cost-effective care to more state residents in need.”
Following a competitive application process, 14 projects were selected for individual, multi-organizational, or development grants. For instance, Harbor Community Health Center in Hyannis partnered with ten other health centers to propose a multi-organizational project centered on electronic health records. The grant for $824,707 will help participating CHCs establish a statewide forum to share best practices, collaborate on large-scale technology projects, and prepare to join Mass HIway—the state’s electronic health information exchange. This initiative will enable CHCs to improve connectivity with external partners—including local hospitals and other health care providers—in order to streamline the coordination of care and public health reporting, and reduce costs.
Harbor Community Health Center in Hyannis also received an individual grant of $494,588 to purchase software that uses state-of-the-art technologies to identify appropriate interventions to help patients better manage their health. In addition, the software will enable the health center to send automated communications to patients according to risk factors and severity of illness. The goal is to develop a holistic model of population health management by integrating patient outreach with disease management across the continuum of care.
In another example of a collaborative grant project with regional ties, Community Health Center of Cape Cod, Duffy Health Center in Hyannis, and Island Health Care on Martha’s Vineyard, along with three other health centers, received $825,000 to develop an innovative model for shared telephone services. The funding will help to improve triage of after-hours calls, and expand patient communications through texting and related services. Participating CHCs will develop standardized protocols across all six health centers to minimize no-show rates and improve patient and provider satisfaction.
“Community health centers play a critical role in caring for Massachusetts residents and our members,” said Neighborhood Health Plan President and CEO Deborah C. Enos. “The Excellence and Innovation grants will help the CHCs on Cape Cod and the Islands to transform their operations and collaborate with colleagues across the state to continue serving their communities in dynamic new ways.”
“These grants will help to support and accelerate important innovations in health care—the type of innovations that can improve access, coordination, and slow cost growth,” said Gary L. Gottlieb, MD President and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “And, we know that some of the best and most transformative innovations in patient-centered care are developed at our community health centers right here on Cape Cod and across Massachusetts.”
“This level of private investment in community health centers is unprecedented—both locally and nationally,” said League President and CEO James W. Hunt, Jr. “Equally important is the ground-breaking collaboration that is taking place across the health center network and with state partners at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to not only enhance the health of residents on the Cape and the Islands, but to impact the health of communities across the state.”
“Funding to support this level of collaboration and innovation across community health centers is unique and of tremendous benefit to the more than 875,000 patients health centers collectively serve,” said Dr. Robert Hoch, Chief Medical Officer at Harbor Health Services, Inc.
The following CHCs received Excellence and Innovation 2014 grants:
- Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
- Bowdoin Street Health Center
- Brockton Neighborhood Health Center
- Brookside Community Health Center
- Codman Square Health Center
- Community Health Center of Cape Cod
- Community Health Center of Franklin County
- Community Health Connections
- Community Health Programs
- The Dimock Community Health Center
- Dorchester House Multi-Service Center
- Duffy Health Center
- East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
- Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
- The Family HealthCare Center at SSTAR
- Family Health Center of Worcester
- Fenway Community Health Center
- Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
- Greater New Bedford Community Health Center
- Greater Roslindale Medical & Dental Center
- Harbor Health Services
- Hilltown Community Health Centers
- Holyoke Health Center
- Island Health Care
- Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center
- Lowell Community Health Center
- Lynn Community Health Center
- Manet Community Health Center
- Mattapan Community Health Center
- North Shore Community Health
- Outer Cape Health Services
- South Boston Community Health Center
- South Cove Community Health Center
- South End Community Health Center
- Upham's Corner Health Center
About Neighborhood Health Plan
Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP) (www.nhp.org) is an NCQA-accredited, not-for-profit health plan that provides coverage to over 300,000 commercial and MassHealth members. For more than 25 years, employers, individuals, and families across Massachusetts have turned to NHP for health care coverage that is both high-quality and affordable. NHP is known for plans that are easy-to-understand and manage. Members have access to a robust network of top doctors, community health centers, and academic and regional hospitals. Founded in 1986 with a commitment to promote health equity for members within the diverse communities we serve, NHP’s service and care management programs today continue the tradition of personalized and high-quality care. NHP is a member of Partners HealthCare.
About Partners HealthCare
Partners HealthCare is an integrated health care system, founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, that offers patients a continuum of coordinated and high-quality care. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners system includes community and specialty hospitals, a managed care organization, a physician network, community health centers, home health and long-term care services, and other health care entities. Partners HealthCare is committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. Partners is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and is a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization.
About the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
Established in 1972, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers (“the League”) is the statewide association representing and serving the needs of the state’s 49 community health centers through grassroots advocacy; technical assistance with state and federal health regulatory and policy issues; promotion and management of clinical quality initiatives; training and education for administrators, clinicians and board members; help with health center technology development; and work with local health advocacy organizations seeking to open health centers in their communities. The League also serves as an information source on community-based health care to policymakers, opinion leaders and the media.