Martha’s Vineyard Hospital wins $500,000 state grant

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has won a state grant of $500,000 for an initiative launched in April that provides a new level of care for patients whose cases are medically complicated.

The new program, called Integrated Care Management, serves about 100 patients who have been identified as medically high risk, according to a press release. Cheryl Kram R.N., the hospital’s outpatient high risk care manager, helps coordinate the care of these patients among their multiple medical specialists and keeps in touch with them at home, helping them keep their problems managed.

The grant, from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, covers the staff costs of running the program, its associated information technology costs, and the costs of analysis to track the program’s success in achieving two goals: improving patient health and simultaneously cutting the cost of health care, the hospital said.

Patients identified as high risk,who are served by this new program either have multiple medical conditions that complicate their care, or chronic and severe conditions like diabetes or congestive heart failure that call for constant management.

Ms. Kram can keep in touch, and when needed visit patients, at home, when hospitalized on the Vineyard, or any other hospital in the Partners HealthCare network. She also works with their case managers and physicians to coordinate care.

“This new program is based on the idea that when you offer patients the care and services they need to improve their clinical outcomes, you not only prevent complications and help them enjoy a higher quality of life, you also control health care costs by preventing the sorts of medical crises that lead to hospitalization,” said Tim Walsh, president and CEO of the hospital.