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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Receives $1 Million Grant to Help Begin Transformation of Primary Care Delivery

Two-year Harvard Medical School grant will help develop team-based care

BOSTON - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will begin transformation of its hospital-based primary care practice, Healthcare Associates, and extend its support for two of its affiliated community health centers, as a result of a $1 million grant from the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care's Academic Innovations Collaborative.

The two-year grant will be matched by BIDMC.

The funding will enable Healthcare Associates to move toward a team-based health care model known as the patient-centered medical home where providers and support staff in a primary care practice - doctors, residents, nurses, medical assistants, nutritionists, pharmacists, social workers and community resource specialists and others - form an interdisciplinary team built around the needs of an individual patient.

The funds will also support existing primary care programs at Bowdoin Street Health Center and The Dimock Center.

"We have delivered terrific and innovative primary care for years," says Russell S. Phillips, MD, Chief of BIDMC's Division of General Medicine and Primary Care. "This grant represents a next step for us. It will help us leverage the kind of change needed in our primary care offices and at our health centers."

"The funds will facilitate and accelerate practice transformation at all three sites, addressing the triple goals of improved population health, improved care quality and efficient use of resources," says Kevin Tabb, MD, BIDMC's President and CEO.

The cornerstone of the plan is implementation of a patient-centered medical home, a team approach that studies suggest offers the best opportunity for primary care practices to manage and deliver preventive services. The approach also supports the management of high-risk patients with chronic illness. Both are aimed at keeping people healthy and out of the hospital.

"Based on generally accepted care recommendations and reviews of care actually delivered, there is an enormous unmet or poorly met need in the management of preventive services and chronic diseases nationally," says James Heffernan, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Healthcare Associates and "Principal Innovator" at BIDMC on the HMS Academic Innovations Collaborative grant. "The patient-centered medical home promotes a model of team-based care. Distributing the care load across the team allows the right care to be delivered by the right provider or support person in the right setting more expeditiously and more cost effectively."

A key aspect of meeting the transformation goals is an enhanced electronic medical record system making it easier for team members to share information and generate lists of patients who, for example, are due for tests or may need reminders to take medications or come in for exams.

"The goal here ultimately is to create behavior changes that empower patients to become full partners in their own care, a vital component in the whole transformation mix," says Heffernan.

"This is a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with our academic partner, transforming the delivery of health care and building on our foundation of comprehensive community health," says Myechia Minter-Jordan, MD, Dimock's chief medical officer.

HealthCare Associates, The Dimock Center and Bowdoin Street Health Center are all at different points on the curve of transformation toward patient-centered medical home and care innovation. Bowdoin Street Health Center, designated a Level III patient-centered medical home in 2011 by the National Center for Quality Assurance is the furthest along and is already showing impressive results.

"We have some early data showing that patient-centered medical home has helped cut down on our hospital readmission rates," says Harvey Bidwell, MD Bowdoin's medical director. "That's a strong indication to us that this healthcare model helps the care team and patients manage illnesses better at a substantial cost savings."

"We're very excited to receive this grant and be able to move this important work forward," says Phillips. "A lot of synergies are hitting at the same time in this changing healthcare landscape. This grant will help ensure the continued delivery of seamless high quality, cost effective care at BIDMC, The Dimock Center and Bowdoin Street Health Center."

Other Academic Innovations Collaborative grantees include: Brookside Community Health Center, The Phyllis Jen Center for Primary Care, Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center ( Brigham & Women's Hospital affiliates); Malden Family Medicine Center, Primary Care Center, Somerville Hospital Primary Care, Windsor Street Health Center ( Cambridge Health Alliance affiliates); Children's Hospital Primary Care Center, Martha Eliot Health Center ( Children's Hospital Boston affiliates); Primary Care Center, The Sagov Center for Family Medicine ( Mount Auburn Hospital affiliates); Chelsea Health Center Adult Medicine and Pediatrics, Internal Medicine Associates, Mass General Pediatrics ( Massachusetts General Hospital affiliates).

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and currently ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit www.bidmc.org.