I spent part of this morning with the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), as they marked their transition to a medical home model of health care delivery.The medical home model is part-and-parcel of the health care bill we passed last session, emphasizing the need to identify and learn from accountable care organizations and mandating a transition to global payments away from the traditional fee-for-service model.
The CHA is partnering with state and federal authorities as part of a $628 million program designed to increase the effectiveness of care delivery and to reduce operating costs. The program, known as the Delivery Services Transformation Initiative (DSTI), seeks improvement in four major areas: integrated delivery systems, innovative care methods, alternative payment models, and population-level healthcare services.
In plain English, this means that the CHA is moving forward with best-practices such as electronic health records to arm both providers and patients with up-to-the-minute information. In practice, electronic health records function the same way as a patient’s “chart,” only without the possibility of mistakes due to transcription errors or loss of paper records. Electronic health records also make it possible to instantaneously check patient prescriptions against known allergies, integrate lab results with x-rays and MRIs, and let patients bring their chart with them on a smart phone or any other connected device.
The DSTI program is another important step forward on the road toward affordable, high-quality health care for all. As the Governor has pointed out in the past, DSTI funds benefit our “safety net hospitals,” the caregivers who serve our most vulnerable communities, and it’s good to see that the proverbial cavalry has arrived to support our doctors and nurses. I will continue to fight for a single-payer health care system, but the transition of the CHA to a medical home model with the help of the DSTI program is an unequivocal win for our district and for our neighbors. I played an integral role in the creation of the CHA, and I’m proud that they’re continuing to find new ways to improve patient care.