Monday, November 3, 2014

Holyoke Medical Center Receives $3.9 million for Enhancements


Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) has been awarded $3.9 million by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) for an innovative project to enhance behavioral health care services for patients. The two-year project has an aggressive completion deadline of January 2017.

The funds awarded by HPC are Phase 2 of the Community Hospital Acceleration, Revitalization, and Transformation Investment Program "CHART Phase 2: Driving System Transformation." The HPC awarded $60 million for projects throughout the commonwealth, for which they received requests of over $117 million.

HMC's award was the highest award for a single hospital and it reflects the recognition of the need for improved conditions as well as the vital role HMC plays in our community. This award also came with the expressed support from many local and state officials, including Representative Aaron Vega, Representative Joseph F. Wagner, Representative John W. Scibak and Senator Don Humason.

"This funding will allow us to create significantly improved conditions for all our patients, especially those with behavioral health needs. Programmatic changes and designated treatment space for behavioral health patients in the Emergency department will help to avoid unnecessary hospitalization and reduce re-hospitalization of behavioral health patients," says President and CEO Spiros Hatiras.

Approximately half of the funds awarded by HPC, nearly $2 million, are designated to assist in a designated treatment space in the HMC Emergency department for behavioral health patients, of which the total cost is estimated to be between $6 million to $7 million. Holyoke Medical Center will organize a capital campaign, and invest in the balance of funds needed to complete the Emergency Department re-design project. 

The HMC Emergency Department serves over 45,000 patients per year and will continue to serve our community through the re-design and construction faze of the project. 

The renovations of the HMC Emergency Department will provide a designated treatment area needed to deliver safe, comprehensive behavioral health services to a wide range of patients. The renovations are expected to begin in early 2015 and be completed by the end of the same calendar year.

This initiative will also introduce robust care navigation in partnership with community organizations to ensure that patients receive targeted interventions, are referred to the "right" services, and successfully follow through on their care plans to achieve optimal short- and long-term health outcomes.

HMC Director of Behavioral Health Baxter Chandler commented, "This project is an amazing opportunity to provide specialized emergency care for people with mental health and substance abuse issues. Not only will we more effectively address a patient's emergency behavioral health needs, we will also enhance our ability to connect patients with appropriate treatment and community services, reducing the need to return to the ED."

This innovative approach to the behavioral health needs will provide better treatment to our community.

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