Tuesday, December 16, 2014

$12.2 M In Training Grants Awarded To Reduce Health Care Costs


Rachel Kaprielian

Media Contact
Contact: Ann Dufresne (617) 626-7121

For Immediate Release - December 10, 2014

$12.2 M in training grants awarded to reduce health care costs

Award is second round of grants to train health care workers under landmark Health Care Cost Containment Act

Lowell, Wednesday, December 10, 2014 – Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rachel Kaprielian today awarded more than $12.2 million in the latest round of grants to help train health care providers to improve patient service and reduce health care costs. The funding goes to 53 organizations across the state as part of the Patrick Administration’s effort to encourage economic growth by supporting innovation in the Commonwealth’s health care industry. Secretary Kaprielian announced the awards at the Lowell Community Health Center, one of the grant recipients.

“These grants will help ensure health care providers succeed in implementing new models of service delivery and adapt to new payment structures,’ said Secretary Kaprielian. “By providing resources to develop new and innovative training and education programs, Massachusetts will continue to solidify its place as a leader in health care modernization and advances.” 

In 2012, Governor Deval Patrick signed Chapter 224 making Massachusetts the first state in the country to enact health care quality improvement and cost containment legislation. The Health Care Cost Containment Act allocated $20 million to prepare the health care industry for the new demands and innovations called for in the legislation.

Governor Patrick announced the first round of grants in March which allowed businesses to assess their workforce and determine what skills and training they will need to change operations and deliver more efficient health care. For many of today’s grantees, the training activity ahead builds on that planning work. All the grantees have identified a set of operational changes that are driving their need for increased workforce skills. The training activity will support new models for coordinating care across professions, institutions and settings, focus on patient-centered care, stronger patient engagement and health education to promote health and wellness, integration of primary care and behavioral health and process improvement.

“This important grant will ensure that the health care industry continues to provide the resources necessary to remain innovative,” said Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr.  “It will also ensure quality of care by enhancing the skills of its workers.  This in turn will foster economic growth and opportunity in our Commonwealth.”

The Lowell Community Health Center, which has served the communities of greater Lowell since 1970, will partner with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and Northern Essex Community College on a $250,000 grant to deliver a training plan that will improve the quality of patient care by strengthening the skills of frontline community health workers and medical assistants.

 “We now care for nearly half of all Lowell residents, or nearly 50,000 individuals, said Dorcas Grigg-Saito, CEO of the Lowell Community Health Center. “This unique training opportunity will help us ensure that we have the skilled workforce we need to achieve our mission of delivering high quality and cost effective patient care to each and every patient we serve.”

Niem Nay-Kret, one of a number of center workers slated to receive the new training said “Since I primarily serve members of Lowell's large concentration of Cambodians, I am excited by the opportunity to expand my clinical knowledge and case management skills because the patients I serve face so many obstacles to better health.”

Health Care Workforce Transformation Grants announced on Wednesday are administered by the Commonwealth Corporation under the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.  Awarded grants ranged in size from $30,300 to $250,000.  Grant recipients represent every region of the Commonwealth and every subsector of the health care industry. 

The following received grants during this round of funding:

Lead Applicant                                                  Total $ Requested       WIB Region 

Lowell Community Health Center                             $250,000.00           Greater Lowell  

Lowell General Hospital                                           $244,354.13           Greater Lowell  

Anna Jaques Hospital                                              $249,973.37         Merrimack Valley

Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board         $250,000.00         Merrimack Valley

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