June 4, 2014 (Boston) —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 its second round of Excellence and Innovation grants for community health centers (CHCs).

The 35 CHC grant recipients from across Massachusetts were announced today at Fenway Community Health Center in Boston as the next phase of the Partnership’s 15-year grant program, which will provide up to $90 million for Massachusetts community health centers.

Launched in 2012, the program is designed 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 new grants will support ground-breaking efforts to increase patient use of interactive health technology and develop shared services and shared data capacity across multiple health centers – all with the aim of lowering costs while improving patient care.

“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 CHCs develop state-of-the-art infrastructure and transform their operations as they continue serving the diverse needs of our communities in dynamic new ways.”

“These grants 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 in 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, the longevity and vision of this initiative will help to sustain and expand primary care innovation for generations of Massachusetts residents across the health center network and beyond.”

Following a competitive application process, 14 grantees were selected for individual, collaborative multi-organizational, or development grants. For example, Fenway Community Health Center will use its $472,396 individual grant to engage patients and improve the capture of patient-reported information during the patient visit. Using iPads, patients will be prompted to answer questions about their concerns and changes in health status since their last visit. When the medical provider arrives in the exam room, the patient and provider will discuss the information together. The data is then “pushed” directly into the patient’s electronic medical record (EMR).

Fenway Community Health Center will also join with five other health centers in a $824,942 multi-organization grant to create a central repository for health care quality, utilization and cost data. The shared database will help the centers better identify cost-effective approaches for providing quality care, and strengthen their capacity for evaluating and managing risk arrangements under emerging payment reform models.

“Early studies point to the effectiveness of using technology for patient reporting,” said Fenway Community Health Center Medical Director Alex Gonzalez. “In many cases, the technology helps to elicit more accurate and detailed responses from patients about a range of topics, including physical symptoms, depression, substance abuse, and domestic violence.”

The Excellence and Innovation grant recipients are listed below:

  • 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