Vol. 12 No. 5 - December, 2009

A strategic partner

Commonwealth Medicine plays a key role in the future model of health care

chle state house
Commonwealth Medicine’s Center for Health Law and Economics is playing a key role in health care reform. Here they reported their findings on the economics of Massachusetts health care reform to influential health policy leaders at the State House.

In 2008, UMass Medical School and clinical partner UMass Memorial Health Care, embarked on a joint, five-year strategic plan for the University of Massachusetts Academic Health Sciences Center. Centering on advancing the health and well-being of the people of the commonwealth and the world through pioneering advances in education, research and health care delivery, the plan was the result of a comprehensive and collaborative process involving a broad array of stakeholders from across both organizations. “The greatest aspect of our strategic plan is that everyone in our organizations was asked to help create it and everyone can be involved in living it,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins, MD.

The objectives of this plan set the priorities that both organizations are following, which include transforming the practice of medicine through continued excellence in basic, clinical and translational research, while recommitting the academic health sciences center to safe, high-quality health care, superior education and community service.

In creating the future model of health care delivery

—one of the key goals of the strategic plan—Commonwealth Medicine is a leading contributor.

Commonwealth Medicine—as the division that fulfills a large portion of the UMMS public service mission—was vital to the development of this plan and is playing a fundamental role in its implementation. “In these challenging economic times, Commonwealth Medicine is needed now more than ever to ensure our organizations’ ability to continue to provide quality, accessible health care programs and services,” said Dr. Collins.

In creating the future model of health care delivery—one of the key goals of the strategic plan—Commonwealth Medicine is a leading contributor. A fundamental priority of the goal is to incorporate the care of underserved populations by providing a safety net, which calls upon the expertise of Commonwealth Medicine to improve quality, safety and effectiveness in serving those in need. Examples include a partnership between the Massachusetts Area Health Education Center (MassAHEC) Network and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to provide workforce development analysis that will help public and private agencies shape solutions to the shortage of primary care providers with a goal of making health care more accessible; a new initiative between the Center for Health Policy and Research and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing to reduce the number of medication errors in long-term care facilities; the continued expertise of Commonwealth Medicine’s Clinical Pharmacy Services division, Office of Clinical Affairs and affiliate MedMetrics Health Partners in providing a range of cost saving—$1 billion in Massachusetts alone—pharmacy program management services to clients; and supporting behavioral health providers to implement the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool that streamlines a coordinated approach to mental health service delivery. These are just a few examples of how Commonwealth Medicine is shaping the future model of health care for the commonwealth and beyond.

“We are an academic health sciences center with very highly developed and extensive public service endeavors, which foster rich data for translational science and, in turn, position us at the forefront of health care delivery and policy formulation,” concluded Collins.