Health Policy Commission Issues Grants to Community Hospitals

BOSTON — At its first board meeting of 2014, the Health Policy Commission (HPC) awarded approximately $10 million to 28 community hospitals, including seven in Western Mass., to enhance the delivery of efficient, effective healthcare across the Commonwealth.
The funds, which range from $65,000 to $500,000 per organization, come from Phase 1 of the HPC’s Community Hospital Acceleration, Revitalization, and Transformation (CHART) Investment Program, which was established by the state’s landmark healthcare cost-containment law.
“Community hospitals are an essential part of our healthcare delivery system, and today commissioners voted to support critical investments that will strengthen CHART hospitals’ foundation and enable them to promote transformation,” said Dr. Wendy Everett, HPC vice chair. “These awards are an important step toward achieving high-value, better outcomes, and more affordable healthcare in Massachusetts.”
CHART, a four-year program funded by an industry assessment of select providers and insurers, makes phased investments to promote care coordination, integration, and delivery transformations; advance electronic-health-records adoption and information exchange among providers; increase alternative payment methods and accountable-care organizations; and enhance patient safety, access to behavioral-health services; and coordination between hospitals and community-based providers and organizations.
The Western Mass. awards include:
• Baystate Franklin Medical Center, $476,400, to support expansion of telemedicine capacities to select inpatient and outpatient specialties, with the goal of reducing unnecessary transfers and costs, and connecting local providers to health information exchanges;
• Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, $499,600, to support expansion of telemedicine capacities to identified inpatient and outpatient specialties, in order to reduce unnecessary transfers and costs, connect local providers to health information exchanges, and support an evaluation of post-acute services and capabilities in the region;
• Holyoke Medical Center, $500,000, to support implementation of an electronic health record system in the Emergency Department;
• Mercy Medical Center, $233,134, to support the development of organizational capabilities, capacities, and culture change, in order to accelerate and sustain continuous quality and safety improvements;
• Noble Hospital, $344,665, to support the development of a centralized scheduling hub to coordinate appointments across multiple hospital units, and to support planning related to health information exchange connectivity;
• North Adams Regional Hospital, $395,311, to support co-location of behavioral-health services at primary-care practices in Northern Berkshire County; and
• Wing Memorial Hospital, $357,000, to support achievement of meaningful use stage 1 compliance.
“These awards show that the HPC is committed to partnering with community hospitals to achieve the Commonwealth’s cost-containment and quality-improvement goals,” said David Seltz, executive director of the HPC. “We look forward to continuing this work until we build a more coordinated and affordable healthcare system in all corners of Massachusetts.”

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