Partners HealthCare Commits $2.2 Million to Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers | Funds to Support, Strengthen Health Center Staffs Across Massachusetts
Partners HealthCare Commits $2.2 Million to Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
Funds to Support, Strengthen Health Center Staffs Across Massachusetts
Partners HealthCare today announced a $2.2 million commitment to the Mass League of Community Health Centers to help health centers reshape the way care is delivered around the state. The funds will be used to support a wide range of workforce development programs -- including training and technical assistance -- as the role of health centers continues to expand and evolve in Massachusetts’ rapidly changing health care landscape.
“Community health centers are among the Commonwealth’s most valuable health care assets,” said Gary L. Gottlieb, M.D. President and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “For decades, community health centers have pioneered and developed models of care that deliver high quality and cost effectiveness. We must continue to support their ongoing mission to deliver the best value possible to patients and their families.”
“The demands on the state’s network of community health centers have grown leaps and bounds since the launch of state health reform and as more residents are impacted by the state’s economic challenges,” said James W. Hunt, Jr., President and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. “These investments are critical to strengthening the state’s health centers and expanding their affordable, high-quality primary and preventive health care to more Massachusetts residents in need.”
Approximately $1 million will be invested in a process improvement training program – Lean Performance Improvement Training – for community health centers. The program provides practical tools to identify problems, improve patient and clinician satisfaction, and sustain effective change. Enhancements made through the training can improve the effectiveness of care delivery, as well as access to and engagement in patient centered medical homes, which have shown significant impact on both patient outcomes and costs.
Early results have already shown tremendous progress at some of the state’s health centers. At the East Boston Neighborhood Community Health Center, clinicians and staff sought to enhance the role of the Medical Assistant (MA) by standardizing workflows for greater efficiency in the workplace – ultimately creating more time for patient engagement. After a four-month ‘lean training’ effort focusing on well child visits, staff identified new work processes that afforded doctors 27% more time with patients and helped to improve patient, family and clinician satisfaction.
“With support from Partners HealthCare and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, this initiative has helped East Boston better address the top priorities of community health centers: improving patient care and attracting and retaining the highest quality clinical personnel,” said East Boston Neighborhood Health Center Chief Executive Officer Jack Cradock.
At Lynn Community Health Center, the team focused on how to reduce patient wait times when calling in on the phone to seek appointments and other information. By improving the phone call intake process, they were able to drastically reduce call waiting times and reduce the number of patients that simply hung up by 70% – improving patient engagement and access.
“Not only has this initiative improved patient access and support, it has created new leaders within our organization who are dedicated to continuously finding ways to improve the patient experience,” said Lynn Community Health Center Executive Director Lori Abrams Berry.
Another $1.2 million will be used by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to establish statewide training and workforce development programs to enhance the skills of nurses, medical assistants, registration workers, and other health center staff members. Over the course of the next three years, these funds will improve workforce skills and career possibilities for more than 1,200 employees at the 50 community health centers. As more community health centers transition toward patient centered medical homes, this gift will promote recruitment and retention of qualified providers, and ensure enhanced coordination of care for patients who face chronic disease, including diabetes, depression, and cancer.
Partners History of Commitment to Community Health Centers
Partners HealthCare makes the largest commitment to the community of any health care provider in Massachusetts – more than $186 million last year. Since 1994, Partners has provided more than $83 million in capital investments to licensed and affiliated community health centers in Massachusetts. Partners is committed to providing people in our communities and health centers with opportunities to explore, prepare for and succeed in health careers that provide economic self-sufficiency, financial security and pathways for advancement.
Partners HealthCare is an integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital
and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners system includes community and specialty hospitals, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health-related entities. Partners is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization.
The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers ("the League") is a non-profit, statewide association representing and serving the needs of the state's 50 community health centers, which provide comprehensive primary care to some 800,000 state residents through 280 sites. The League serves as an information source on community-based health care to policymakers, opinion leaders and the media, and delivers a wide range of technical assistance to its membership, including leadership on health policy issues, promotion and management of clinical quality initiatives, recruitment of primary care clinicians and support for information technology development.