Massachusetts’ largest hospital system and its insurer have awarded $4.25 million in grants to community healthcare centers statewide.
Partners HealthCare and Neighborhood Health Plan announced the funding Monday as part of a 15-year, $90-million initiative to bolster the quality and financial stability of community healthcare centers.
According to an article published on White Coat Notes’ website, community healthcare centers and their affiliate organizations are expected to play an increased role in providing primary care for patients under the new federal healthcare legislation and the state’s new health cost-control law.
The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers is comprised of 49 community healthcare centers across the state. Collectively, the centers treat 800,000 patients, approximately 70 percent of whom are enrolled in a publicly-funded healthcare program. Because private insurers typically pay more for health services than government agencies, the high percentage of patients using government health insurance programs leaves many of Massachusetts’ community centers financially strapped.
The amount of funding awarded for the first round of grants varies from $20,000 to $150,000 – money that will be spent on purchasing electronic medical records systems, implementing health and wellness programs and training employees to comply with the Affordable Care Act. According to the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers’ website, all of the league’s 49 centers were selected for first-round grant money.
Grants were divided into four categories: health information technology reporting, medical coding training, meaningful use training, and capacity building for performance improvement.
The community health centers group also notes on its website that following this first round of funding, community clinics will be able to apply for additional grant money through a competitive grant application process.
Dr. Gary Gottlieb, president of Partners Health Care, planned to make two announcements regarding the initiative, one at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and the other at Brockton Neighborhood Health Center.
Partners Health Care is a not-for-profit health system that includes community and specialty hospitals, a physician network, community health centers, home care and other health-related services.
Edited by Braden Becker