Piloting Change and Driving Down Costs Through the Pioneer ACO Program

Today’s health care challenges call for innovative ways to improve the quality of care while reducing costs. For three years, we’ve been pursuing new solutions through the U.S. government’s Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program, and federal data released this week show that in the past year, we’ve slowed health care cost growth for 70,000 Medicare patients through the program.

During our third year participating in the Pioneer ACO, we saved $21.6 million, spending 2.7 percent below the benchmark Medicare uses to measure Partners’ performance. In combination with years one and two, we’ve saved a total of $39.2 million—$18.8 million of which were shared with the federal government.

In this pilot initiative, Partners is one of 19 health care organizations working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center to transform the way health care is delivered. Through investments in population health management, patient-centered medical homes and our integrated care management program, among other initiatives, we’ve improved care coordination for some of our most complex patients.

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Tags: affordability, uniform high quality

Fighting Hunger with Project Bread

Rep. Katherine Clark with children at SFSP site

Rep. Katherine Clark with children at a Summer Food Service Program site in Revere

Good nutrition is a cornerstone of good health, especially for growing children. A healthy diet is essential for healthy development, but some children experience hunger far too often. According to Project Bread’s “2014 Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts”, more than 375,000 households across the state cannot confidently predict where their next meal is coming from.

That’s why we are supporting Project Bread and the Summer Food Service Program for our fifth summer to help ensure that all children have access to the meals that they need throughout the summer months. Partners’ support provides over 300,000 meals to over 6,000 children, a collaboration that represents our commitment to the health and well-being of all those living in the communities in which we live and work.

In Massachusetts, more than 400,000 low-income children qualify for free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch during the school year, and many count on those meals throughout the year. During the summer months, these children may not have access to the same meals. The Summer Food Service Program is essential for filling the meal gap many children are at risk of experiencing. Through the program, we provide free meals all summer long to children ages 18 and under at more than 900 sites throughout the state, including community centers, schools, parks, pools, day camps, YMCAs and more.

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Tags: community

Inspiring Future Health Care Careers at Camp Harbor View

Ferry to Camp Harbor View

Aboard the ferry to Camp Harbor View

There is always something fun and exciting going on for both campers and staff during a summer at Camp Harbor View, which brings together youth from across the city’s neighborhoods on Boston harbor’s Long Island. We fill our days with all kinds of activities: swimming, soccer, sailing, arts and crafts, and more.

But we also like to switch it up sometimes and shift away from our normal routine. It helps keep campers engaged and interested in learning about new things. One of the ways we are able to do that is the Partners HealthCare Career Days. Campers are always curious when I mention that a career day is coming up because they don’t know what to expect. But they do know that they will definitely be learning something new – like how to take their blood pressure, how to perform the Heimlich maneuver and how an ultrasound works.

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Tags: community, creating jobs

Higher-Quality Care: Using Telemedicine to Improve the Patient Experience

Across the United States and within Partners HealthCare, thousands of patients are discharged from an acute hospital to spend time at a rehabilitation hospital. Our patients often have complex medical needs due to illnesses such as burns, bone fractures or heart injuries. Staying at the rehabilitation hospital gives our patients more time to get stronger and be safer to go home. Sometimes this recovery can take weeks or even months.

While still staying at the rehabilitation hospital, many of these patients have to travel back to their doctor’s office for regular follow up appointments. This allows their original doctors from the acute hospital to make sure that the healing process is successful and avoid any possible complications.

However, it is hard to get patients from the rehabilitation hospital to their doctor’s office, and then back to the rehabilitation hospital. Many patients are still weak, and often cannot walk on their own. An ambulance ride is usually needed. This whole process can take up to five hours – so that patients can spend 15 to 20 minutes in the appointment with their doctor. Each of these trips can cost the health care system hundreds of dollars. But more importantly, they cause a lot of discomfort for patients and their families.

A new telemedicine program started in 2013 between Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is changing all of this.

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Tags: uniform high quality

Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Oz Mondejar, Dr. Cheri Blauwet, Kristen McCosh

Partners HealthCare’s Oz Mondejar and Dr. Cheri Blauwet with Kristen McCosh, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities for the City of Boston

Last week marked 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. From workplaces to public places, the ADA changed the way Americans with disabilities navigate their daily lives by setting guidelines for things like closed captions on TV, audible walk signs for pedestrians, accessible rest rooms and more.

Staff from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Partners HealthCare, and faculty and students from MGH Institute for Health Professions joined hundreds of area citizens on Boston Common last week to celebrate the progress that’s been made in the last couple decades and rally together with other disability advocates and their allies to think about much-needed future efforts.

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Tags: community

Boston Hospitals Lead the Way on U.S. News Best Hospitals List

MGH and BWH_combined_550x562

U.S. News & World Report’s Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals is out today, and Partners HealthCare founding members Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) both received top ratings, with MGH again ranked first and BWH, sixth – the hospital’s best-ever ranking. Their achievements make Boston the only city in the country with two top-10 hospitals on this year’s Honor Roll.

McLean Hospital was also ranked fourth in the nation for psychiatry, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital was ranked sixth nationwide for rehabilitation. At the regional level, MGH and BWH again received top rankings – first and second, respectively; North Shore Medical Center was ranked fifth and Newton-Wellesley Hospital, tenth. Partners hospitals also received high rankings in numerous medical specialties.

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Tags: uniform high quality

Baby Baskets Give Newborns a Healthy Start

Recipients of baby baskets

At Partners HealthCare, we know that health begins at the very start of our patients’ lives; the first few months are crucial. Recognizing this, Partners employees have joined together for the past four years to provide baby baskets to new families. Throughout the Partners system, employees donate items that new parents need — including diapers, wipes, clothing, toys, books, bottles and more.

Partners Human Resources and Partners Community Health then work together to ensure these are delivered safely to area community health centers, where both patients and staff deeply appreciate the effort.

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Tags: community

A Plan for Better Care at North Shore Medical Center

At Partners HealthCare, we’re committed to providing better care, close to home for all of the communities we serve. That’s why we’re announcing a plan to improve care and coordination with North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) by serving the needs of the region more efficiently and significantly improving access to behavioral health and addiction services.

Our plan realigns the practices and facilities at NSMC’s campuses in Salem and Lynn to make high-quality care more effective and efficient, while increasing the availability of those services that North Shore residents use most. It will also save $18 million a year in health care costs.

First, we’ll consolidate all of NSMC’s hospital-based medical, surgical and behavioral health services on one campus at NSMC’s Salem Hospital. All inpatient services at Union Hospital in Lynn will move to Salem Hospital over the course of the next three years. NSMC will expand and enhance the services provided in Salem, including building a new Emergency Department and two additional family-centered inpatient units.

Nearby on the campus of Salem Hospital, the former Spaulding Hospital North Shore will be converted to a Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health with direct ties to Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Tags: coordinated care, uniform high quality

A Warm Welcome to the MLK Summer Scholars

Mayor Walsh at MLK Summer Scholars EVENT

A summer job can prove to be much more than a paycheck—it can be a valuable professional experience that gives young people the opportunity to connect with mentors. And economic and educational opportunities can in turn have a positive impact on health.

At Partners HealthCare, we are committed to addressing all the social factors that affect health. That’s why we have once again partnered with John Hancock on the MLK Summer Scholars Program.

We’re very proud of this partnership, as it helps to ensure that nearly 650 Boston public school students have summer employment.

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Tags: community partnerships, creating jobs

Profiles in Compassion: Dr. Audrey Provenzano

Audrey Provenzano with patient

The Kraft Fellowship in Community Health Leadership is a competitive two-year post-residency program dedicated to preparing a new generation of physician-leaders to foster new models of collaboration between academic medicine and community health centers.

Kraft Fellows are selected on the basis of academic achievement, leadership ability, and demonstrated commitment to caring for underserved patients. Each one of them brings a unique set of experiences and perspectives to the program – and so we thought you might enjoy getting to know each Kraft Fellow a little bit better.

The latest fellow in our series is Dr. Audrey Provenzano, an alumna of Wellesley College and Yale University School of Medicine who completed her residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Read about her fellowship at The Dimock Center below, in her own words.

Why community health?

My mother shaped much of how I see the world, and one of her greatest lessons to me was one of social justice. So, I approached a career in medicine through that lens, with the desire to work for vulnerable and underserved patients. When I was in medical school, I fell in love with community health through HAVEN, the student-run free clinic at Yale, which was run out of Fair Haven Community Health Center. I loved that the clinic approached health with a broad point of view, and attempted to address the social determinants of health that so deeply impact health outcomes for their patient population. I knew that was the environment in which I wanted to practice in the future.

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Tags: community, redesigning care

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