For Immediate Release - January 08, 2014

HPC Awards $10 Million to Community Hospitals

Funds will promote health care affordability, quality, and efficiency in 28 communities across Massachusetts

BOSTON – January 8, 2014 – At its first board meeting of 2014, the Health Policy Commission (HPC) today awarded approximately $10 million to 28 community hospitals to enhance the delivery of efficient, effective health care across Massachusetts. 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. CHART was established by the state’s landmark health care cost containment law, Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012.

“Community hospitals are an essential part of our health care 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 and President of NEHI. “These awards are an important step toward achieving high-value, better outcomes, and more affordable health care 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 HPC released a Request for Proposal governing Phase 1 of CHART (Foundational Investments to Prime System Transformation) on October 23, 2013, and received 28 applications from the 31 acute care facilities made eligible under Chapter 224 (non-teaching hospitals with non-profit status and relative prices below the state’s median average). After an extensive review by commissioners, staff, and other content experts, the HPC approved the following awards today:

 

Addison Gilbert Hospital

$294,000

This investment will support implementation of a High Risk Intervention Team that provides patient education, medication management, and discharge planning for patients admitted with certain complex chronic illnesses. 

Anna Jaques Hospital

$333,500

This investment will support training of directors and select clinical leaders in change management, implement a web-based case management tool to better communicate with post-acute providers, and implementation of a tool to support enhanced monitoring of quality of care.

 

Athol Memorial Hospital

$484,128

This investment will support piloting improvements to a school-based health center, improve behavioral health case management in the emergency department, facilitate electronic health record enhancement, and conduct a telepsychiatry feasibility study.

Baystate Franklin Medical Center

$476,400

This investment will support expansion of telemedicine capacities to select inpatient and outpatient specialties to reduce unnecessary transfers and reduce costs, and will connect local providers to health information exchanges.

Baystate Mary Lane Hospital

$499,600

This investment will support expansion of telemedicine capacities to identified inpatient and outpatient specialties to reduce unnecessary transfers and reduce costs, connect local providers to health information exchanges, and support an evaluation of post-acute services and capabilities in the region. 

Beverly Hospital

$65,000

This investment will support strategic and operational planning related to an identified community need of reducing hospital utilization for cardiovascular issues and reducing readmissions for certain patients.

BID – Milton Hospital

$261,200

This investment will increase language access for Vietnamese speaking patients, including: linking health information technology with an existing, affiliated primary care practice of Vietnamese-speaking physicians, hire a patient navigator fluent in Vietnamese, and develop signage and communication materials in multiple languages.

BID – Needham Hospital

$300,000

This investment will support enhanced identification of high-risk patients covered under risk contracts, expand case management services, and implement an automated system for tracking adverse events.

Emerson Hospital

$202,575

This investment will support health information exchange across settings.

Harrington Memorial Hospital

$491,600

This investment will support local, non-hospital providers in joining the Mass HIway, to redesign the hospital’s behavioral health information system with a focus on efficiency and work flow enhancement, and develop a plan to integrate services, including an assessment and capability survey, focus groups with consumers and review of evidence-based, successful models. 

HealthAlliance Hospital

$410,000

This investment will support enhancement of a patient navigation program in collaboration with affiliated, community providers to provide integrated, comprehensive behavioral health services across settings and build capacity for exchanging health information across sites.

Heywood Hospital

$316,384

This investment will support the expansion of behavioral health navigation services, evaluate the feasibility of a school-based health center in Gardner, connect a local medical group to the MassHIway, and conduct strategic planning related to evaluating the expansion of behavioral health services in a cost-effective way.

Holyoke Medical Center

$500,000

This investment will support implementation of an electronic health record system in the emergency department.

 

Jordan Hospital

$245,818

This investment will support expansion of an existing case management program for medically complex and chronically ill patients by focusing on Dual Eligibles and those with ESRD.

Lawrence General Hospital

$100,000

This investment will support a needs assessment of care management software for enabling clinical information flow between hospital and community-based providers to promote population health management goals as well as strategic and operational planning for activities related to care coordination and care transitions.

 

Lawrence Memorial Hospital

$362,058

This investment will support a pilot of revised care plans for patients presenting to an emergency department with back pain to promote alternatives to opioid use, as well as the development and implementation of relevant training curricula and electronic health record enhancements.

Lowell General Hospital

$497,900

This investment will support an operational pilot of health information exchange between the hospital and one participating primary care site, as well as implementing additional HIE connections for 24 practice sites. This investment will support operational and business planning activities.

Melrose-Wakefield Hospital

$387,302

This investment will support a pilot of revised care plans for patients presenting to the emergency department with back pain to promote alternatives to opioid use, as well as the development and implementation of relevant training curricula and electronic health record enhancements.

Mercy Medical Center

$233,134

This investment will support the development of organizational capabilities, capacities, and organizational culture change to accelerate and sustain continuous quality and safety improvements.

Milford Regional Medical Center

$499,810

This investment will support the piloting of transmission of discharge summaries to select community providers using Mass HIway, integration of process improvements to existing care transitions program, including expansion beyond specific diagnoses, and development of a strategic plan to improve care transitions and reduce avoidable re-hospitalizations.

Noble Hospital

$344,665

This investment will 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

This investment will support co-location of behavioral health services at primary care practices in Northern Berkshire County.

Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital

$438,400

This investment will support an evaluation of the use of an evidence-based metric for a patient condition, implementation of a provider intelligence tool for community based population health, and planning for system transformation.

Southcoast – Charlton Memorial Hospital

$397,862

This investment will support the identification and management of high-risk patients and improve the use of clinical and claims data to enhance population health management efforts.

Southcoast – St. Luke’s Hospital

$385,395

This investment will support reduction of behavioral health emergency department visits by creating asset map and linkages with community providers, developing best practices and protocols and establishing evidence-based medication therapies, as well as to support planning for a medication management clinic to serve the needs of behavioral health patients.

Southcoast – Tobey Hospital

$400,100

This investment will support the provision of inpatient and outpatient diabetes care coordination for a pilot cohort of 75 high-utilizing patients.

UMMHC – Wing Memorial Hospital

$357,000

This investment will support achievement of Meaningful Use Stage 1 Compliance.

Winchester Hospital

$286,500

This investment will support care management services and enhanced transitions to skilled nursing facilities with the goal of reducing re-hospitalizations.

 

“Today’s 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 health care system in all corners of Massachusetts.”

The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MeHI) is partnering with the HPC to support and oversee implementation of select projects related to enhancement of health information technology and increasing connections between providers through the Massachusetts Health Information Exchange. “We are looking forward to working closely with the HPC and CHART hospitals to ensure successful implementation of technology that supports patient-centered, accountable care,” said Laurance Stuntz, MeHI’s Director. 

Over the next six months, the HPC and MeHI will support and monitor the implementation activities of CHART hospitals. “Comprehensive evaluation and accountability are strong elements of the CHART Investment Program so that we can assess these new initiatives’ impacts on health care cost and quality and learn about best practices in a measurable way. What we learn in this initial work in Phase 1will strengthen our knowledge base so that we can make robust investments in future phases of the CHART Program, including Phase 2 expected in spring 2014,” said Dr. Paul Hattis, HPC Commissioner and Chair of the Community Healthcare Investment and Consumer Involvement (CHICI) Committee.

Chapter 224, “An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs through Increased Transparency, Efficiency, and Innovation,” created CHART and several other significant investment programs in order to achieve the Commonwealth’s health care affordability, quality, and efficiency goals. Chapter 224 called for a one-time assessment on certain providers and insurers to support these programs. Only acute care hospitals with over $1 billion in total net assets and less than 50% revenue from public payers were subject to the assessment. The funding collected by the one-time assessment is allocated as follows:

  • $119.08 million for the HPC to reduce health care costs by investing in community providers through the Community Hospital Acceleration, Revitalization, and Transformation (CHART) program. This funding supports today’s Phase 1 investments as well as future phases over the next four years.
  • $57 million for the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund to reduce health care costs by preventing chronic conditions and promoting healthy behaviors. This Fund is administered by the Department of Public Health and grant recipients include community-based partnerships including municipalities, healthcare systems, businesses, regional planning organizations, and schools.
  • $28.5 million for the e-Health Institute Fund to reduce health care costs by enhancing care coordination through a secure, interoperable health information exchange.  This Fund is administered by the e-Health Institute and grant recipients include hospitals, physicians, and other provider organizations.

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The HPC is an independent state agency that monitors health care delivery and payment systems reforms and develops policies to reduce overall cost growth while improving the quality of patient care. To learn more, please visit www.mass.gov/hpc or follow us on Twitter @Mass_HPC.