For Immediate Release - October 23, 2013

HPC Makes $10 Million Available for Investments in Community Hospitals

Eligible institutions from across the state can now apply for funds to advance health care affordability, quality & efficiency goals of Commonwealth's cost containment law

BOSTON – October 23, 2013 – The Health Policy Commission (HPC) today announced the availability of $10 million in funding for certain Massachusetts community hospitals. Beginning today, eligible institutions from across the state can apply for up to $500,000 from the first phase of the HPC’s investment program – Community Hospital Acceleration, Revitalization, and Transformation (CHART) – focused on enhancing community hospitals’ delivery of efficient, effective health care.

Established through the Commonwealth’s landmark cost containment law, Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, CHART will make 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 is providing these funds to help community hospitals restructure the care they provide so as to improve quality and lower costs,” said Dr. Stuart Altman, Chair of the HPC.

The CHART Investment Program will total $119.08 million to be dispersed over a four-year period. At a board meeting last week, HPC commissioners approved an approach for Phase 1 that makes $10 million immediately available for Foundational Investments to Prime System Transformation. The Request for Proposal (RFP) governing Phase 1 was made public today and is available here.

The RFP calls for funding activities such as pilot programs set for launch; capacity building to enhance clinical information flow, improve patient care management, and strengthen collaboration; and planning. Successful Phase 1 applicants can receive up to $500,000.

The HPC will accept Phase 1 applications until December 11, 2013 and expects to announce award recipients in early January 2014.

“Our commissioners have ensured CHART investments will be meaningful and timely, and that we are implementing the program consistent with the vision established by the Legislature in Chapter 224,” said David Seltz, Executive Director of the HPC. “I look forward to a competitive application and careful review process so that we can present the board with proposals for approval in early January.”

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. 
  • $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.

Chapter 224 also established the following eligibility guidelines for CHART Investment Program applicants: non-teaching hospitals with non-profit status and relative prices below the state’s median average. Consistent with these criteria, the list of Massachusetts institutions eligible to apply for Phase 1 of CHART can be found here.

“Community hospitals are an essential part of the equation to achieve a high value health care system,” said Dr. Paul Hattis, a member of the HPC and chair of its Community Health Care Investment and Consumer Involvement Committee (CHICI) that developed CHART. “Phase 1 of CHART will set a strong and immediate foundation for our future work, and position us to bring about long-term, sustainable change at the institutions communities across our Commonwealth depend on.”

 

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The HPC is the new 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.