A National Initiative to Transform Safety-Net Clinics

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The Commonwealth Fund, in collaboration with eight co-funders, is launching a national Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, which will provide $6 million dollars to help 68 community health centers in five states transform into patient-centered medical homes. Health centers in Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Pennsylvania will be given training and ongoing support to improve how they deliver care to patients.

"In order to have a truly high performing health care system in this country we must have high-quality, well-coordinated, patient-centered primary care,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. “This initiative is an investment in the long-term health of these clinics as well as this model of care. With safety net clinics leading the way, we hope to show how all primary care practices can transition into true medical homes providing the best care possible."

The initiative is being led by Qualis Health, a Seattle-based quality improvement organization. Working closely with the MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation, Qualis Health will support health centers' efforts to improve the coordination of information between primary care and specialty care or community providers, use information technology to identify patients with unmet needs and improve care for those with chronic conditions, and systematically obtain feedback from patients for quality improvement. The medical home model has shown promise as a way to provide high-quality, cost-effective health care to low-income and minority patients while reducing racial and ethnic health disparities.

The goals of the initiative are to transform these health centers, which serve more than 500,0000 patients per year, and to promote state policies that will ensure that the model is sustained and spread throughout each state. It is anticipated that at the end of the initial grant period, all 68 health centers will be recognized as replicable models of excellence.

The Commonwealth Fund is joined in support of the project by eight co-funders, including the Colorado Health Foundation, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Northwest Health Foundation, Partners HealthCare, The Boston Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Publication Details

Publication Date:
May 6, 2009

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