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Harrington awarded $440,000 to better manage chronic disease populations

SOUTHBRIDGE, MA, August 30, 20128 – Harrington HealthCare System has been awarded a $440,000 grant from the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to fund a comprehensive approach to managing chronic disease.

The funding falls under the Alternative Payment Methods (APM) Preparation Fund of HHS’ Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, which builds and strengthens the statewide healthcare workforce and healthcare infrastructure by better meeting members’ needs through more integrated and coordinated care and moderating the cost trend.

With Harrington’s grant money, the health care system plans to focus on a multidisciplinary approach to chronic disease management, beginning with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia patients. Through the employment of Care Navigators and Behavioral Health specialists, the program will integrate several touchpoints across a patient’s continuum of treatment, including primary care, acute care, behavioral health and post-acute settings.

“The grant will allow for a nurse to assist in the clinical needs of the disease and a behavioral health specialist to assist in barriers to leading a healthy life,” said Jessica Calcidise, BSN, RN, vice president of nursing and ancillary operations. “Social determinants can prohibit a patient from leading a healthy life with a chronic disease. Behavior modification can be a key to success.”

Over the past three years, Harrington has expanded its Patient Navigation program through funding from the Community Hospital Acceleration, Revitalization, and Transformation (CHART) Investment Program. Through this grant, Harrington was able to achieve a 34 percent reduction in the number of Emergency Department revisits for patients with behavioral health comorbidities and create a stronger rapport between the navigator and the patient, among other notable successes.

Calcidise explained that while there will not be an extension of the CHART funding, the DSRIP grant, in addition to $486,000 recently awarded through the HPC, gives Harrington nearly $1 million in funding to continue to improve and expand these services to the community. Both grants will employ members of the original CHART programs to continue achieving value-based care.

The APM Fund is a statewide initiative with the focus on building and strengthening PHOs readiness, to enable those providers to join an existing MassHealth ACO, and thus contribute to improved health outcomes and reduce the total cost of care for MassHealth members.

Harrington is planning to participate in the Boston Accountable Care Organization (BACO) with Boston Medical Center Health Plan to help manage some 10,000 Medicaid patients within its footprint and better align their access to care. The healthcare system has hired Lisa Casasanta, MPH, as its new executive director for the PHO.

“Harrington Healthcare is perfectly positioned for an ACO. The development and growth of the physician network, diverse/robust behavioral health and the care management model lend the health system to great success in the value-based payment model for MassHealth members,” said Casasanta. “The opportunity for Harrington Healthcare to be part of this statewide initiative to transform care for MassHealth members in an important step forward in our commitment to patient centered care.” 

To learn more about DSRIP Funding, please visit http://www.massleague.org/.