Shaping the Future of Health Care

Shaping the Future of Health Care2019-05-06T15:20:38-05:00

May 2019

Message from Toni McGuire, President and CEO

This year May 2nd served as Community Health Center Day on Beacon Hill in Boston. This annual event provides CHCs across the Commonwealth with the opportunity to visit our state legislators to tell our stories about the impact we are making on entire communities. The Mass League of Community Health Centers takes the lead in this initiative that provides a venue for our cause to be heard.

Kennedy CHC is extremely fortunate in that we have both state and federal elected officials who get it…. that is they understand the important role community-based health care plays in our overall health care delivery system. CHCs are uniquely structured to provide the highest quality care to residents who make up the workforce of our cities and towns and who contribute to the overall sustainability of our local economies. Without community health centers, many of these individuals would not have regular access to health care services. And without access to medical, dental and behavioral health services, small issues can evolve into larger problems requiring costly interventions that put a strain on the solvency of our health care system. With one in every eight individuals receiving care at a community health center, the work we do would not be easy to replace.

Support for our cause is needed on every level-locally, regionally and nationally. Again, Kennedy CHC has benefited greatly from the support we have received from our legislators, as well as from city and town governments, and corporations and foundations in our service area. This assistance has enabled us to grow to serve close to 30,000 people in Central Mass and MetroWest. Our efforts address community health needs identified in community health assessments and provide many marginalized populations with the ability to live a quality of life most of us take for granted.

We are proud of our legacy in health equity; we are even prouder that the tremendous support we have received over the years has validated our mission and the value Kennedy CHC brings to the communities we serve.

Thank you.

Toni McGuire
President and CEO

April 2019

Message from Toni McGuire, President and CEO

Our visit to the Hill this year focused on securing sustainable funding for community health centers. We had conversations with elected officials on both sides of the aisle asking them to move legislation forward to support community health centers for the next five years.

For most of my career in community health, I equate the beginning of spring with the National Association of Community Health Centers’ Policy and Issues Forum. Held in Washington D.C., this program provides a framework for community health centers nationwide to join forces to tell our story to congressional leaders.

You may remember that in the recent past as we approached several funding cliffs, we were only able to obtain financial support for one or two years at a time. Given the growing need for our services, the costs we save our nation’s medical delivery system, and our combined economic impact, maintaining the sustainability of community-based health care well into the future insures that we can continue our work without interruption.

Here are some facts you may not know about community health centers that I think demonstrate why this long-term support is so important:

  • Community health centers provide affordable, quality health care for 28 million people.
  • Health centers reach people facing the greatest difficulty accessing or affording health care services.
  • Health centers are the backbone of local communities providing high-quality health care, improving health outcomes and narrowing health disparities.
  • Community health centers eliminate waste and excess costs, saving the entire health care system more than $24 billion annually.
  • Health centers are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, responding to public health emergencies, and addressing chronic disease.
  • Health centers are quickly adopting telehealth to provide timely and cost-effective access to care for patients.
  • Health centers care for 1 in 6 Medicaid beneficiaries nationally and deliver savings to the Medicaid Program at 24% lower cost compared to other providers.
  • Community Health Centers are often the largest employer in their communities generating in total $54.6 billion in economic activity.
  • Nationally, every $1 of federal Health Center Program funding generates $5.73 of economic activity for low-income and underserved communities.

Beyond these statistics, community health centers are often the life-blood of population health. Thank you for your continued support and I invite you to join our cause by contacting your elected officials.

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March 2019

Message from Toni McGuire, President and CEO

March 1, 2019 marked the second anniversary of the official launch of the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model in Massachusetts. With a trial period held prior to the launch, ACOs have been successfully managing care for MassHealth (Medicaid) patients for three years.

As I’m sure most of you are aware, Kennedy CHC is part of the Community Care Cooperative (C3) ACO comprised of 17 community health centers throughout Massachusetts. As a team we are undertaking the necessary steps required to transition from a fee-for-service to a value-based reimbursement system.

At Kennedy CHC, we are using our vast experience in community-based health as a foundation to incorporate new initiatives that will aid us in more efficiently managing the health care of our patients. Our staff has begun to implement evidence-based programs to address the needs of our complex patients. We have also delved more deeply into population health management, connecting with our patients beyond the exam room. Population health management is a key component in providing value-based care and our staff are working diligently to standardize this practice into our current clinical operations.

Another initiative pertinent to the success of an ACO model is coordinating what is referred to as transitions of care; that is overseeing the process by which our patients are transferred from a hospital setting to a rehab facility to their homes. With C3 as the lead, we have made strides in this area which entails developing strong partnerships with a variety of health care providers and community organizations. These relationships support a more universal approach to managing patient care as well as the cost, with each entity recognizing the role it plays in creating healthier communities and sustaining our medical delivery system.

Of course, as with any new patient management model, Kennedy CHC staff has adapted new software modules into our current medical technology system. These innovative technology solutions support our work in both complex care and population health management

As a result of our many accomplishments over the past three years, I am very proud to say that Kennedy CHC has fully embraced the ACO model for both our Medicaid and Medicare patients. Kennedy CHC is also part of an ACO with UMass Memorial Health Care directed at the Medicare population. Our hard work is beginning to bear fruit as we more efficiently manage the care of everyone who walks through our doors.

February 2019

Message from Toni McGuire, President and CEO

While strides have been made in combating the opioid crisis in our country, substance use remains high and continues to be a primary concern for most communities. Abuse of substances crosses all genders, races, cultures and economic lines. It is a universal issue that can only be addressed through an ongoing and concerted effort.

The very nature of community health centers makes us natural leaders in fighting this battle. According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, “health centers are breaking down barriers to care, bolstering their effective service delivery model, and expanding their capacity to deliver SUD treatment.”

Over the past few years, Kennedy CHC has been able to secure grants from both the state and federal governments to grow its substance use treatment programs. With support from the Department of Public Health and the Health Resources and Services Administration, our behavioral health and primary care provider teams are able to work together to help our patients fight this disorder that cripples their lives. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is currently considered to be one of the best front-line practices to treat patients with substance use disorders.  Kennedy CHC offers patients access to MAT services through the successful integration of mental health, substance use and primary care.  Integrated services is a hallmark of Kennedy CHC.  Our provider teams have been working for years to insure that a holistic approach to health care is offered to all of our patients.  Our experience and expertise in providing integrated care is now being utilized to address a disorder that is disrupting the health of so many people and the communities in which they live.

Thank you.
Toni McGuire
President and CEO