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Secretary Bigby Joins CHA to Celebrate Support from Obama Administration to Enhance Care at Safety Net Hospitals
Posted Date: 9/27/2012

Cambridge, MA...Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby today joined local elected officials and leaders from the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) at its Cambridge Hospital Campus to celebrate funding from the Obama Administration for Massachusetts safety net hospitals to advance integrated care and cost containment goals.

“I thank the Obama Administration and our congressional and state legislative partners for supporting this initiative that will help our safety net hospitals adopt cutting-edge methods to improve the quality of care and control costs,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Massachusetts is a national leader in health care access, and working together we can lead in cracking the code on health care costs.”

Cambridge Health Alliance is eligible for a total of $67.3 million in federal funds available over three years through the Delivery Systems Transformation Initiative. It is one of seven Massachusetts safety net hospitals eligible to receive payments to improve care transformation.

The Obama Administration’s approval of the Commonwealth’s “master plan” for DSTI hospitals made available $628 million in joint state and federal funding to provide incentive payments for safety net hospitals over three years. This funding allows the hospitals to invest in integrated care, electronic safety and quality innovations and infrastructure to support alternative payment models.

“Cambridge Health Alliance provides care for many of the Cambridge, Somerville and MetroNorth communities’ most vulnerable residents and I am proud of this partnership to promote cutting- edge advancements here and at our other safety net hospitals,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. “Care transformation programs like these will have a lasting impact on patients’ health and are making integrated care a reality in all arenas of patients’ lives.”

Secretary Bigby was joined by Senator Sal DiDomenico, Representative Alice Wolf, Representative Tim Toomey, Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis, Cambridge City Manager Bob Healy,
staff representing Senator Patricia Jehlen and Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, and state Medicaid Director Dr. Julian Harris at the event.

Initiatives already underway at CHA include: Patient-Centered Medical Homes; Complex Care Management; Tobacco Cessation and Community Partnerships to Improve Population Health. These innovative care models are essential to the hospital’s migration toward alternative or global payment models.

“Cambridge Health Alliance is committed to our continued health care transformation that improves care for our patients and communities,” said CEO Patrick Wardell. “We are grateful for the leadership of Governor Patrick, Secretary Bigby and congressional and state legislators for securing this important funding opportunity that is so essential to promising innovations and early results we are seeing toward better care and better health.” 

Cambridge Health Alliance is also embarking on a collaborative initiative to improve Population Health of the Community through evidence-based tobacco use identification and cessation efforts.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) first authorized the DSTI program in December 2011 as part of Massachusetts’ Medicaid Demonstration project. The Commonwealth’s master plan serves as a roadmap for participating safety net hospitals to design their individual 3-year transformation plans.

Safety net hospitals are undertaking transformation projects in four areas:

* Development of a fully integrated delivery system, such as converting primary care practices into Patient Centered Medical Homes, integrating physical and behavioral health care, and developing integrated networks of providers linked by electronic health records.

* Implementation of innovative care models to improve quality of care and health outcomes, such as building electronic chronic disease registries, implementing new care management programs for patients with complex conditions, and better coordinating care when patients leave the hospital to prevent readmissions.

* Development of capabilities necessary to implement alternative payment models, such as building the infrastructure to become an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), piloting alternative payment models for low-income patients, and enhancing systems to monitor providers’ performance on health care quality and costs.

* Population-focused health outcome improvements, projects aimed at collecting and reporting key measures that will allow the Commonwealth to track and assess the impact of the transformation initiatives on patients’ health and system costs over time.

Massachusetts leads the nation in health care coverage for its residents. Thanks to the Patrick-Murray Administration's successful implementation of the 2006 landmark health care reform law, more than 98 percent of Massachusetts residents have health care coverage, including 99.8 percent of children — something no other state in America has achieved. In August, Governor Patrick launched the next phase of health care reform, signing legislation that builds on the Commonwealth's nation-leading access to care through landmark measures that will lower costs and make quality, affordable care a reality for all Massachusetts residents.

Cambridge Health Alliance is an integrated, award-winning health system that provides high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices, and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts University School of Medicine. Visit us online at



Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health system committed to providing high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine.