Pittsfield- Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) and State Representatives Daniel E. Bosley (D-North Adams) and Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) announce that three local health care providers have been awarded a total of $2.15 million in grant funding from the state’s Essential Community Provider Trust Fund. The Trust is administered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS).
Locally, North Adams Regional Hospital will receive $2 million, Worthington’s Hilltown Community Health Center will receive $100,000 and the Community Health Center of the Berkshires Children’s Health Program Inc. in Great Barrington will receive $50,000. In sum, $37.5 million in funding was awarded during this grant round from EOHHS to 71 hospitals and community health centers statewide.
Senator Downing remarked, “We rely on these health care facilities to provide quality primary and preventive care to our community’s most vulnerable populations. The rising cost of care coupled with minimal reimbursement rates, have created new fiscal challenges for these health centers. I am pleased that EOHHS recognizes their important work and responded with this essential funding.”
“Ensuring equal access to both preventative and acute care is a critical part of the Patrick Administration’s health care reform agenda,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. “The Essential Community Provider Trust Fund gives needed financial support to hospitals and community health centers on the front lines of patient care.”
“The North Adams Regional Hospital has made extraordinary strides to improving the quality and accessibility to health care for the residents of Northern Berkshire County,” said Bosley. “These three well deserving organizations will continue to provide excellent care to the people of the Berkshires with these funds.”
The Essential Community Provider Trust Fund’s goal is to improve providers’ abilities to serve populations in need more effectively and efficiently through community-based care; clinical support; disease management; primary care; care coordination; and pharmacy management services.
Representative Kulik said, “The health centers in Huntington and Worthington are the primary providers of comprehensive health care throughout our rural Hilltown region. This important and well-deserved state grant will help to ensure that these quality services will continue to benefit the residents of the Hilltowns.”
Today’s announcement marks the conclusion of a highly competitive application and evaluation process. In July, the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy mailed letters, grant funding applications and instructions to all of the state’s hospitals and community health centers. Application packets from 83 providers across the state were received with a total ask of $110 million.
In evaluating grant applications and determining award amounts for FY08, EOHHS evaluated the role each provider plays in the Commonwealth’s health delivery system in order to maintain equitable access to key services, particularly in areas of geographic isolation. The state also prioritized supporting the financial viability of critical health care providers, using three years of data to determine financial needs of acute, non-acute and community health providers. Finally, EOHHS also emphasized the importance of protecting access to critical behavioral health services for all citizens of the Commonwealth. The state plans to distribute the funds to providers beginning in November.