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Greater Boston unites to transform health care

BOSTON--A coalition of organizations representing healthcare stakeholders throughout Greater Boston has been selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to participate in a planning grant to become part of the Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative. AF4Q is the Foundation's signature effort to lift the overall quality of healthcare in targeted communities, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and provide models for national reform.

The Boston-area coalition, that includes consumers, providers, payers, employers, and local government representatives, has been awarded a six-month planning grant of $200,000 to develop a plan of action to better align efforts and create concrete and long-lasting systems change that have an impact on the way care is provided, received, and paid for in the region. More than 35 Boston-area organizations, representing the breadth of the region's healthcare stakeholders, have committed to the Greater Boston AF4Q planning initiative, showing a groundswell of support for this opportunity.

"Healthcare reform in Massachusetts has created a new environment and level of commitment among stakeholders to work together to preserve and enhance the gains brought by this universal coverage," says Stuart Altman, Sol C. Chaiken Professor of National Health Policy at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and chair of the Eastern Massachusetts Healthcare Initiative (EMHI) Executive Committee. Altman, who co-chairs the Greater Boston Aligning Forces Initiative, adds, "There is widespread support for using the opportunity AF4Q provides to demonstrate the sustainability of healthcare reform."

"Greater Boston is primed to take great advantage of this opportunity," says Barbra Rabson, executive director of Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) and co-chair for the Greater Boston Aligning Forces Initiative. "Healthcare reform, combined with a rich tradition of collaboration and huge reservoirs of talent and expertise, positions Greater Boston on the brink of healthcare transformation. The Aligning Forces initiative offers a framework for focusing our efforts to meet this potential."

Through a competitive process, Greater Boston was identified as a community best positioned to make fundamental and cutting edge changes to rebuild its healthcare system. Over the next six months, the Greater Boston community will establish a roadmap for developing key programmatic areas identified by RWJF. The AF4Q initiative takes specific actions to improve the quality of healthcare in communities including:

  • Helping physicians improve the quality of their care
  • Encouraging people to become better partners with their doctors
  • Improving care inside hospitals, with special focus on the role nurses play
  • Reducing inequality in the care for patients of different races and ethnicities

AF4Q, a long-term, comprehensive effort to improve the quality of care in communities, is the signature program in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's $300 million commitment to improve the quality of U.S. healthcare. The program recognizes that though healthcare quality is a national problem, healthcare is delivered locally and fixing it requires local action. To date, RWJF has invested in 15 regions across the nation, including Albuquerque, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Humboldt County (CA), Kansas City (MO), Maine, Memphis, Minnesota, Puget Sound (WA), South Central Pennsylvania, West Michigan, Western New York, Willamette Valley (OR) and Wisconsin.

Greater Boston healthcare stakeholders are working together to build and deliver a compelling proposal to become one of the next AF4Q communities.


Contact: Laura Gardner
Brandeis University

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