INSIDE THE ISSUE
MHA Produces a Compendium of Care Innovation & Strategies
Workforce vacancies across the healthcare continuum are straining bed availability and creating capacity bottlenecks, leading providers to implement new and innovative strategies that can help maximize the talents of their caregivers. These approaches work in tandem with broader workforce development efforts, such as those outlined in MHA’s recent Workforce Toolkit (see story below).
As the volume of these strategies continued to grow, MHA’s Continuum of Care Council created a compendium to document both short- and long-term strategies and care models that may aid in patient care.
Among the many strategies included are discussions of “float pools” and scheduling using artificial intelligence, to the use of “micro-hospitals” and “dialysis dens.”
The compendium pulls from the latest trends to showcase strategies that fit a range of settings and resource capabilities. That is, the ideas in the compendium are tailored not just for acute care settings but represent ideas from across the care continuum – that is, post-acute care, home care, mobile integrated care, etc.
Each strategy and care model has a brief description, linked resources to learn more, and potential barriers to implementation. MHA will also use the listing to guide its advocacy efforts to increase access to care and to empower the workers who make care possible.
Boston Medical Center & Celtics Launch Curbside Care Program
The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation has made a $1.5 million gift to fund Boston Medical Center’s new Curbside Care unit for three years.
Curbside Care brings maternity care to the doorstep of mothers and newborns in BMC’s service area. The hospital says 40% of such patients do not attend postpartum appointments because of lack of transportation or childcare. Pregnant and post-partum patients and their newborns under six weeks of age who receive care at BMC will receive 2-4 visits outside of their home through the Curbside Care program. BMC’s Pediatrics and Midwifery Service expects 2,100 patients a year will be served by the program that begins this month.
Curbside Care is part of BMC’s extensive equity efforts aimed at meeting the needs of the hospital’s patients, 70% of whom are people of color with many living below the poverty level. The program is also part of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation’s “Celtics United for Social Justice” – a 10-year, $25 million commitment to address systematic racial inequities in New England.
FOCUS ON WORKFORCE:
Lawrence General’s Workforce Efforts Promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
For Virgilio Velez, R.N., the Diversity, Equity, Innovative Care and Inclusion Program Officer at Lawrence General Hospital (LGH), building the workforce at his hospital is part of a wider, more far-reaching goal.
“We first looked at what we look like as a hospital, what our patients look like, and what our community looks like, and then we began to define what our workforce challenges were,” he said.
LGH is the largest employer in the City of Lawrence, which has the state’s highest proportion of Latinos. They make up about 80% of the city, and about 70% of the hospital’s patients speak Spanish or a language other than English. The hospital is also an independent facility, not owned and operated by a larger system. It is a high public payer facility and receives relatively lower commercial insurer payments than the state average.
“Because we’re a non-profit, stand-alone hospital we don’t have a lot of resources,” Velez says. “So, what we need to do is to tap into the community resources. We pool resources to find what other groups can help us to improve career development within, and how we can improve recruitment externally.”
How that strategy works is multifold. In September 2022, a recruitment and retention team at LGH attended the city’s annual Ciclovia festival, a closed-street celebration of physical activity and safe bicycling.
Read the rest of the story about Lawrence General Hospital’s workforce strategy, as well as workplace stories from other providers throughout the state, by visiting MHA’s Workforce Toolkit.
SAMHSA/HRSA Awards Grants; New Round of Funding Opened
Two divisions of U.S. Health & Human Services — the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) – have awarded $185 million and $60 million, respectively, to fund behavioral health programs across the U.S.
The federal funding comes from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed by Congress and signed into law last June.
Among the SAMHSA-funded program is $57.7 million in Mental Health Awareness Training grants to prepare and train school personnel, emergency first responders, law enforcement, and others to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health challenges to enable early intervention; Cambridge Health Alliance received grant funding for programs in this area.
Nearly $60 million in HRSA funding, including a grant to Baystate Medical Center, is aimed at supporting the integration of mental health training into the training of primary care clinicians, with a specific focus on preparing primary care providers to treat the mental health needs of children and adolescents.
Also last week, SAMHSA announced a new grant for hospitals and other providers to assist them in implementing alternatives to opioids for pain management. Non-profit hospitals and emergency departments, including free standing EDs and rural emergency hospitals, can apply through March 6 for up to $500,000 per year for up to three years. Healthcare facilities and other eligible entities also can apply through March 7 for up to $750,000 per year for five years to administer medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorders.
Reminder: COVID-19 Therapeutics are Widely Available
It bears repeating, even after three years of the pandemic: therapeutics to treat COVID-19 are in abundant supply within the commonwealth. DPH advises providers to order them liberally and to stockpile them to prepare for surges. DPH also offers remdesivir and oral antivirals (Paxlovid and molunupiravir) through nine state-supported sites located across the state, including the recently added Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury. Remember, the state also has an In-Home COVID-19 Treatment Program making it more convenient for eligible Massachusetts residents to receive approved treatments for COVID-19.
Mass General Brigham has named Roxanne Ruppel as the president and chief operating officer of Salem Hospital, effective March 1. She succeeds David J. Roberts, M.D., who has been named senior vice president of community operations at Mass General Brigham. Ruppel has been at Salem Hospital for more than 20 years, most recently as senior vice president of operations. A physical therapist by training, Ruppel pursued a clinical career for 10 years before transitioning to management.
Mass General Brigham also has named Ellen Moloney as the next president and chief operating officer of Newton-Wellesley Hospital, effective March 1. She succeeds Dr. Errol Norwitz. Moloney first joined Newton-Wellesley in 1997, most recently serving as COO for the past eight years. She is the hospital’s first woman president. Moloney received her BS in Biology/Medical Technology from Rivier University and her MBA from Bentley University.