Community Health Centers to Compete for $6 Million in Funding

Centers can apply for individual or collaborative grants.

The Partnership for Community Health, a 15-year, $90 million initiative from Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP) and Partners HealthCare, announced that it’s making $6 million in competitive grant funding available over the next two years for community health centers (CHCs) in the Commonwealth. The new initiative, called the Excellence and Innovation Program, will enable CHCs to apply for individual or collaborative grants for projects that will drive long-term, sustainable advancements at health centers in the state.

“This funding for the state’s community health centers is unprecedented in size, scope and commitment,” said James W. Hunt, Jr., president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. “These long-term investments will allow health centers to build upon and share the pioneering work they do to continually improve the health of patients across the Commonwealth.”

The $6 million in program funding will enable the CHCs to develop projects that focus on operational innovation and service excellence in one of four targeted areas:

Data and Decision Support:  To assist health centers to improve data integrity in their electronic health records and to support data analysis for quality reporting and decision making.

Operational Improvement:  To support health centers to standardize operational processes and implement practice redesign that ultimately improves the delivery of care and service that is provided.

Shared Services:  To support multiple health centers to create operational efficiencies by integrating administrative functions such as back office services.

Engagement and Communication: To support health centers to explore new ways of engaging patients and providers through innovative patient communication strategies and/or innovative provider engagement and retention strategies.

“Patients and families across the state depend on their community health centers to keep them healthy,” said Gary Gottlieb, MD, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “These grants – and the innovations that arise from them – will help to strengthen health centers so the dedicated clinicians and staff members can continue to deliver high quality, affordable, accessible health care in the most effective way.”

All CHC Organizational Members of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers are eligible to submit an application for funding by January 3, 2014. Grants will be announced in March 2014.

The Partnership for Community Health will also include the development of a Learning Community that is open to all CHCs in the state and includes educational and skill-building initiatives; resources for collaborative problem solving and sharing best practices; and a multi-platform “Knowledge Center” for collecting and accessing shared information.

“We believe that CHCs are vital community assets in a continuously evolving health care landscape,” said Deborah C. Enos, President and CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan. “This funding serves as a catalyst for change by meeting the unique needs of the CHCs and supporting innovative work to improve the health and wellness of the populations they serve.”