This fall, Partnership for Community Health, co-founded by Partners HealthCare, awarded $6 million through a dozen grants that will support 22 community health centers (CHCs) across Massachusetts. The two-year Excellence and Innovation grants are allied with elements of the overall Partners strategy—improving the patient experience, increasing capacity to serve more patients and improving quality while reducing costs.
The partnership was launched three years ago as a joint initiative of Partners and Neighborhood Health Plan, in collaboration with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. The goal is to support the continued efforts of CHCs to reduce barriers to access, promote health equity and provide patient care locally. To date, the partnership has committed $16 million to CHCs across the state.
Overall, the grants support the efforts of the centers to transform their operations and patient communications and find new ways to deliver shared services across different health centers.
Sixteen CHCs will benefit from three multi-institutional grants ranging from $450,000 to $1 million. All three projects involve the use of technology—from telemedicine to imaging to patient portals—to improve access and quality of care and reduce costs.
Individual grants ranging from $200,000 to $600,000 were awarded to 12 community health centers, half in Boston and half in other parts of the state, including Springfield, Worcester and Cape Cod.
Some grants will bolster staffing. For example, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center will add a medical social worker and a health coach to help patients change health behaviors, and Caring Health Center in Springfield will add community health workers to support improved access and use of wellness services.
Others seek to enhance patient engagement. For example, both East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and South Cove Community Health Center will work on call center enhancements that will improve care coordination.
Additionally, other grants will target chronic conditions and process improvement.