'Safety-Net' Hospitals Awarded Federal Funds

By Sarah Birnbaum

May 22, 2012

BOSTON — The federal government has approved the use of $628 million to implement cost-saving reforms at seven Massachusetts hospitals that treat many of the state’s poorest residents.
A little more than half of the money — $381.3 million — will come from the federal government and will be phased in over 3 years.
The hospitals, which include Boston Medical Center, Cambridge Health Alliance and Holyoke Medical Center, serve a disproportionately large number of low-income and Medicaid patients, who are often the most expensive to treat.
JudyAnn Bigby, secretary of the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, said the funds will be used to develop and implement large cost-saving reforms.
"Some of the types of things that hospitals have been working on and will be working on with their proposals are better diabetes management, better collaboration to try to decrease length of stay of people with mental health problems, those types of things," she said.
Bigby added that in the current economic environment, many so-called "safety-net" hospitals are in dire financial straits and struggle to provide care to growing numbers of low-income, uninsured and Medicaid patients. For instance, they often don’t have the money on hand to shift to electronic medical records, even though that change is expected to bring down costs in the long run.

> > READ: The mass.gov press release.

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