For Immediate Release - October 06, 2016

Fenway Health Becomes First Practice to Achieve PCMH PRIME Certification for Integrating Behavioral Health in Primary Care

HPC’s Patient-Centered Medical Home PRIME certification program recognizes practices that deliver comprehensive care by addressing both physical and behavioral health in the primary care setting.

BOSTON – Thursday, October 6, 2016 – The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) has certified the first practices under the Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) PRIME certification program. Envisioned by Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, HPC’s PCMH PRIME emphasizes the importance of behavioral health integration in primary care. 

Fenway South End, a non-profit provider that has served the City of Boston since 1971, is the first practice to attain PCMH PRIME certification for its commitment to integrating behavioral health and primary care services.

Behavioral health conditions - including mental illnesses and substance use disorders - are commonly characterized by both under and delayed diagnosis and treatment. As such, there is growing consensus that behavioral health needs to be well integrated into primary care.

“The under-diagnosis of behavioral health conditions is a serious public health problem, nationally and across the Commonwealth,” said Health Policy Commission Executive Director, David Seltz. “The HPC’s PCMH PRIME program aims to tackle that issue, among others, to help identify behavioral health conditions early and before emergencies arise, just as the system does with other conditions.”

Serving over 28,000 patients, Fenway Health is committed to providing integrated, whole-person care. Fenway South End is one of three Fenway Health locations and provides medical, behavioral health, women’s health, and pharmacy services in the South End neighborhood. In addition to serving the Boston population as a whole, Fenway Health is particularly committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the LGBT community and persons living with HIV/AIDS. The organization is a leading institution in conducting research, education, and advocacy work aimed at advancing LGBT health.

Fenway South End coordinates care delivery by offering behavioral health and primary care services at the same site. The practice also regularly screens for mental illness and substance use disorders and offers substance abuse services such as medication assisted treatment.

“Here at Fenway, programs like PCHM PRIME help us in our mission to deliver better care to our patients, regardless of their diagnosis or ability to pay,” said Stephen L. Boswell, MD, FACP, Fenway Health President and CEO. “Behavioral health conditions, including mental illnesses and substance use disorders, are far too often under-diagnosed and under-treated. This is a serious public health problem nationally and across the Commonwealth. Behavioral health issues can often be identified first in a primary care setting, which is why our staff has worked so hard to integrate behavioral health into primary care.”

“I am thrilled to learn that Fenway South End is the first organization to achieve PCMH Prime certification,” said Senator William Brownsberger. “Fenway South End has been on the leading edge of caring for the most vulnerable in our community and I wish them continued success.”

“Fenway South End has long been a leader in treating the whole patient, so it comes as no surprise that they would be the first organization to receive PCMH Prime certification” said Representative Byron Rushing. “My constituents and I are so proud and grateful for Fenway South End and their ongoing and excellent work in our community.”

PCMH PRIME identifies components key to the integration of behavioral health care into primary care, and certifies practices that meet a majority of these criteria. The program seeks to provide benefits to practices and their patients by:

  • Supporting the use of evidence-based guidelines in treating patients;
  • Helping increase patient access to behavioral health care services;
  • Recognizing practices that deliver comprehensive care by addressing both physical and behavioral health in the practice setting;
  • Providing opportunities for practices to receive technical assistance from the HPC; and
  • Helping practices identify behavioral health issues, before they become acute, resulting in better outcomes and improved patient experience.

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The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) an independent state agency that develops policy to reduce health care cost growth and improve the quality of patient care. Among other initiatives, the HPC is responsible for monitoring the performance of the health care system, analyzing the impact of health care market transactions on cost, quality, and access, setting the health care cost growth benchmark, and investing in community health care delivery system transformation . The HPC’s Board governs the activities of the agency. To learn more, please visit mass.gov/HPC or follow us on Twitter @Mass_HPC