Message From the President & Chairman
Dear Friends and Community Partners,
It is with great pleasure that we share with you highlights from our work in 2014. Last year we undertook a strategic planning process that reaffirmed our core mission of expanding access to health care for low-income and vulnerable people and expanded our focus areas to include access to behavioral health services and efforts to better understand the effect of social and societal factors on health outcomes. As we reflected on what we had learned, our priorities and strategies evolved, allowing us to respond to the significant health policy challenges facing our community in the most meaningful way. This new strategic plan will serve as a blueprint for our work over the next several years as we seek to make a difference and to create an impact. Here are just a few examples:
- We launched a new grant program called Fostering Effective Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care. This major investment is supporting 10 organizations that are implementing collaborative, co-located, or integrated service models for patients with a range of medical and behavioral health needs. The cohort represents a variety of provider types – community health centers, community-based behavioral health centers, and hospital-based programs – located throughout the state. We are documenting the grantees' successes and challenges with the intent of making a longer-term investment in promising, replicable models in the future.
- We continued our role as a convener of impartial and thoughtful public discussion. As a new governor and members of the state legislature were incoming, we commissioned a report on key priorities for MassHealth, the state's Medicaid program. Based on over 40 interviews with stakeholders and policy experts, the report provided a critical discussion around the key issues, opportunities, and policy options for MassHealth, a nearly $14 billion program that covers 1.7 million residents. We released the report at an event attended by over 200 people to wide media acclaim.
- We made social equity and health a priority area. Studies suggest that medical care accounts for only 20 percent of health outcomes, and there is general agreement in the public health arena that social, environmental, and behavioral factors account for 60 percent, with the other 20 percent being genetics. Yet as a nation, we continue to spend more on health care than on social services. With this as context, we commissioned nationally renowned authors/researchers Betsy Bradley and Lauren Taylor to help us create a solid evidence base linking improved health outcomes with access to non-medical supports. We also held the first in a series of Social Equity & Health events where stakeholders came together to have an informed and open dialogue about how best to serve our most at-risk neighbors.
We are as committed as ever to ensuring that people can get and afford the care they need and are excited to be complementing that work with our new focus areas of behavioral health access and social equity and health. Together, we've accomplished much, but there is still work to be done. We hope that you'll find the attached 2014 year-in-review infographic informative, and we look forward to working with you in 2015!