The federal government has approved use of $628 million to implement cost saving reforms at seven Massachusetts hospitals that treat many of the state’s poorest residents.
A little more than half of the money – 381.3 million – will come from the federal government and will be phased in over 3 years. The hospitals, including Boston Medical Center, Cambridge Health Alliance, and Holyoke Medical Center, serve a disproportianately large number of low-income and Medicaid patients, who are often the most expensive to treat.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Judy Ann Bigby says the the funds will be used to develop and implement large cost saving reforms.
“Some of the other types of things that hospitals have been working on and will be working on with their proposals are better diabetes management, better collaboratino to try to decrease lenght of stay of people with mental health problems, those types of things.”
Secretary Bigby adds that in this economic environment, many so called safety-net hospitals are in dire financial straights and struggle to provide care to growing numbers of low-income, uninsured, and Medicaid patients. They often don’t have the money on hand to – for instance – shift to electronic medical records, even though that change is expected to bring down costs in the long run.