Monthly Archives: August 2011

MGH’s Care Management Program Earns More National Coverage

A New York Times op-ed piece earlier this week addressed the need for smart cuts in health care spending. The article’s authors, Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Jeffrey B. Liebman, defined “smart cuts” as ones that could be made without shortchanging patients, and they referenced Mass General Hospital’s successful Care Management program as an example of an initiative that not only reduces costs but also improves coordinated care.

This program launched in 2006 and integrates nurse care coordinators into primary care practices while focusing on the sickest 10 percent of Medicare patients (read our earlier piece on the Care Management demo here). As Emanuel and Liebman write, “By assigning a nurse case manager to high-cost Medicare patients, Massachusetts General Hospital has reduced spending on these patients by 4 to 5 percent and also reduced mortality.”


Tags: affordability, coordinated care

Camp Harbor View: A Commitment to Our Communities and Our Young People

Camp Harbor View (CHV) offers hundreds of Boston’s young people an escape from the city in the hot summer months, a respite from neighborhoods where violence is a factor and a chance to experience the peaceful, natural beauty of Boston’s Harbor Islands. 

We’ve supported the camp since it began, and this year we are deepening our commitment by adding an additional session called – the Health Explorers Camp.


Tags: community partnerships

Partners Earns National Praise for Using Technology to Control Costs

Peter Orszag, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget for President Obama and nationally respected thought leader wrote a commentary piece for Bloomberg news about the positive impact that electronic medical records can have when it comes to controlling health care costs. Orszag, a man who knows a thing or two about Medicare spending, highlights Partners HealthCare as a pioneer in utilizing technology to bend the cost curve. Orszag writes:

“Consider the experience of Partners HealthCare System Inc., an early adopter of health IT at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. In 2006, more than two-thirds of its doctors used electronic health records and, by 2009, all of them did… Partners HealthCare has used its health IT to be more selective about which patients should have diagnostic imaging tests, such as MRIs and CT scans. The cost to Medicare for imaging tests nationwide roughly doubled from 2001 to 2009… From 2006 to 2009, imaging rates at Partners flattened, and in some specialties even started to decline, sometimes significantly. The number of outpatient images per patient, for example, fell 25 percent in that period, even after adjusting for patient characteristics such as age, ethnicity, gender, medical history and medications.”


Tags: affordability, technology

Partners Announces Affiliation with Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP)

We have often discussed in this forum that bending the cost curve in today’s health care environment demands that hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and other interested parties work together to create opportunities for delivering high-quality, coordinated, affordable and accessible care. In fact, there is an expectation among government officials, health policy makers and the public that hospitals and insurers will develop new relationships and explore new models of care. As part of our effort to meet some of those challenges, we are announcing that we are talking with Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP) – a not-for-profit Managed Care Organization – to form a new relationship that could yield significant benefits for patients and help bend the cost curve in the long term.

By combining our respective expertise, we believe we will improve the patient experience. Working together, our organizations will have the flexibility to develop innovative patient and family-centered models of care and craft new initiatives aimed at better managing care of complex conditions – particularly for low-income individuals. ?? Partners can learn a great deal from NHP’s work in this area, as the bulk of NHP’s members receive their coverage through state programs, especially Medicaid (MassHealth) and Commonwealth Care.


Tags: affordability, coordinated care, industry interactions

Partners Reshapes the Way Colon Cancer Patients Receive Care

Marc Rubin, M.D. is helping transform the way colon cancer is treated at Partners HealthCare hospitals. As Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Partners North Shore Medical Center, Dr. Rubin plays a leadership role on the Partners Colon Cancer Redesign Team.

“From the initial biopsy to the follow-up treatment, we are reestablishing the steps that Partners caregivers take to treat colon cancer patients,” says Dr. Rubin. “We are adopting evidence-based best practices and standardizing each step in the delivery of colon care across the Partners system.”


Tags: affordability, redesigning care

Partners $40 million pledge to help keep insurance affordable

Yesterday, The Boston Globe published an article titled, “Partners plan puts a model for cost controls to test.” The article offered an update on our commitment to work with insurers, government and other stakeholders to ease the growing burden of health insurance premiums. We wanted to take a moment and offer some added perspective and details about our plan.

This past December, Partners HealthCare officially notified the Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner that we would help the state keep health insurance premiums affordable for small businesses in Massachusetts. Partners made a one-time, $40 million contribution to provide short-term rate relief to small businesses facing double-digit insurance premium hikes. As reported in The Boston Herald, Partners took a $40 million charge during the last quarter of calendar year 2010. The Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner’s report spells out the details of our payment (bottom of page three).


Tags: affordability

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