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Foundation Gives Boston Area Coalition Funds for New Health Care Plan

June 15, 2009

Boston, MA - Now that the majority of Massachusetts residents carry health insurance, the medical industry can focus on implementing changes to the way care is administered. That is part of the reason that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded a planning grant of 200,000 dollars to a Boston area coalition consisting of consumers, providers and local government representatives. The money will be used to develop a plan to improve health care quality over the next six months.

Better communication among various hospitals and medical centers will be one focus, says Barbara Rabson, co-chair of Boston's Aligning Forces Initiative and executive director of Massachusetts Health Quality Partners; she says this will be a group effort.

"In order to create the sustainable quality- and value-based health care system we need, we all need to work together – physicians, nurses, hospitals, health centers, consumers, employers, government, health plans, and others. It's a huge challenge, but we need to do it."

Many patients and consumers are not involved in their own care, says James Conway, chair of the Partnership for Healthcare Excellence. He says the grant money will help to devise a plan to help bring everyone to the table, to create a true partnership around health care.

"We have an essential need to invite patients, families, consumers into their care; to ask questions about their care; to bring people with them; and to help inform them about care decision-making."

The grant money is part of a long-term effort by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to lift overall health care in targeted communities and provide models for national reform. To date, the foundation has invested in fifteen regions across the nation.

Information on the grant is available at www.rwjf.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA