A team of School of Public Health researchers has been awarded a $1.275 million contract from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) to evaluate a community hospital initiative aimed at improving care coordination, reducing avoidable hospitalizations, and enhancing behavioral health care.
Under the two-and-a-half-year contract, the SPH team will evaluate the second phase of the Community Hospital Acceleration, Revitalization, and Transformation (CHART) Investment Program—which has granted approximately $60 million to 28 community hospitals for improvements in efficiency and patient care. Each of the hospitals has already begun to implement specific initiatives, and progress will be tracked through February 2018.
The HPC is an independent state agency that develops policy to reduce health-care cost growth and improve the quality of patient care.
Chris Louis, clinical assistant professor of health law, policy & management, will lead a team that includes seven researchers from the department, as well as staff, graduate students, and members of the Data Coordinating Center.
“We’re very enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with the Health Policy Commission,” Louis said. “This project aligns well with our focus on helping vulnerable populations and will allow us to play a role in understanding whether, and to what extent, the CHART investment program has been successful in improving our community hospitals.”
David Seltz, executive director of the HPC, said, “We are excited to partner with the Boston University School of Public Health to evaluate our CHART program and continue to ensure that the program is working to build a more coordinated and affordable health care system.
“Supporting community hospitals is a critical part of the HPC’s mission to contain health care costs and improve the quality of care in the Commonwealth,” he added.
Louis, who came to SPH last year with nearly a decade of experience in hospital management, said he is looking forward to leading the project.
“It was great to see how so many faculty members in the department came together, and how people with such diverse skill sets really rallied around this project,” he said. He said the evaluation would benefit from having “some of the industry’s top health policy experts collaborating.”
The evaluation team includes: David Rosenbloom, Kathleen Carey, and Alan Sager, professors of health law, policy & management; Sara S. Bachman, Rani Elwy, and Vicky Parker, associate professors; and Dylan Roby, assistant professor at the University of Maryland.
More information on the CHART project is available at www.mass.gov/HPC/CHART.