September 30, 2016 § Leave a comment
Articles, commentary, research, and more from the past week
Understanding that it’s becoming more common for families to act as caregivers for older family members, Kaiser Health News offers tips for how to make this work best for everyone involved as “caregivers are, on the one hand, heavily relied upon but on the other hand overlooked.” Tips include documenting the caregiver’s identity in the family member’s medical records, assessing your actual capacity to care for family members, obtain training for care-tasks you’re not familiar with, and include the local community in some aspects of the care process.
Parents, families and drug addiction
An article from The New York Times discusses the struggle with addiction facing our country. The article highlights that the opioid epidemic in New England (and elsewhere) has reached such proportions that it is no longer a shock to see drug users collapse in public. It cites that in Massachusetts alone, more than four people a day die from drug overdoses. The article points out that what is new, is that addicts are increasingly buying drugs, getting high and passing out with their children in tow. “Children are as much the victims of what we’re seeing in this epidemic,” said Marylou Sudders, the secretary of Health and Human Services in Massachusetts. “It’s a poignant reminder that our interventions have to be broader than just treatment for the individual but have to include loved ones, especially children.”
September 29, 2016 § Leave a comment
This week, Commonwealth Care Alliance’s Chief Medical Officer Toyin Ajayi, MD, MPhil, presented at HUBWeek’s “Synaptic Gap: 21st Century Brain Science Meets Mental Health Treatment and Policy.” During the day-long forum, Dr. Ajayi spoke on the panel “Meeting demand through non-traditional new approaches to care” along with Niels Rosenquist, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, Emma Stanton, BM, MRCPsych, MBA, of Beacon Health Options, and Sara Wakeman, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital.
When discussing mental health care and addiction, Dr. Ajayi stressed the importance of ownership by physicians and said this is vital as “We have the same opportunities [to achieve success] in the treatment of substance use disorders that we do with other chronic diseases, like diabetes. We in Primary Care can make a real difference in caring for patients who struggle with addiction, and it’s not acceptable to say that it’s somebody else’s problem.”
Dr. Ajayi went on to highlight how important it is to foster integration between medical and behavioral health providers, similar to what we do at CCA, to ensure patients get what they need, emphasizing that this is crucial for healthcare systems of the future.
The panelists also discussed how technology is improving and advancing healthcare, the importance of reducing stigma around mental health and substance use, ways to foster improved team-work and collaboration amongst health professionals, metrics for evaluation of mental health outcomes, and models for caring for individuals with severe persistent mental illnesses.
HUBWeek is organized in partnership by The Boston Globe, Harvard, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital, and is billed as a weeklong celebration of innovation and creativity in the greater-Boston area. The topics discussed range from healthcare and technology to philosophy and civic debate.
September 26, 2016 § Leave a comment
Articles, commentary, research, and more from the past week
Fall prevention among the elderly
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, in 2014, older Americans (over the age of 65) fell 29 million times, leading to seven million injuries. The study reports that approximately 2.8 million cases were treated in emergency departments, and approximately 800,000 seniors went on to be hospitalized for fall-related issues, where more than 27,000 falls led to death. Fall prevention is crucial and it is recommended that older Americans go for regular eye exams, get rid of their throw rugs, and retire their high heels – among other tactics.
Neighborhoods influence health, for better and for worse
In an article in STATNews, a doctor explains the health disparities his patients experience, correlated to the neighborhood’s they are born and raised in. He explains that there is a “10-year difference in life expectancy between residents of the Upper East Side and East Harlem. In other neighborhoods across the country, the gap is even larger.” He further explains that “To save lives, it simply isn’t enough to provide the best clinical care we can. As we transition from fee-for-service care to population health management, we must do more than “bend the cost curve” and provide health care more efficiently. We must look beyond the walls of our health centers and hospitals and into the communities where people live their daily lives.”
Opioid-linked deaths dip as ODs rise
Opioid-related deaths are down this year in Boston despite an uptick in overall overdoses, and Narcan use has spiked by more than 25 percent, city officials say. According to Emergency Medical Services, from January to September of this year, there were 2,193 narcotic-related illnesses — which, along with overdoses, include withdrawal sickness — up from 1,914 during the same time period in 2015. Overdose reversal agent Narcan was administered 1,151 times this year, up from 857 times last year.
September 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
ServiceCorps, a new program launched in Boston and New York City, allows corporate bound college graduates to delay their for-profit careers to work full time in the social sector. This means that non-profits like Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) have been able to hire and work alongside top-quality college graduates.
Many entry-level employees today “want a work environment that’s meaningful and motivating, and they want to have impact on a larger community,” said Raymond McGuire, Citi’s global head of corporate and investment banking, “and ServiceCorps allows them to do just that.”
After graduation, Becky Andrews was offered a financial management position at General Electric when they offered her the option to defer her start date for a year and work at a non-profit.
“I still wanted the job, but I also really wanted to do a volunteer or nonprofit experience so I could develop different skills before I went to GE,” explained Andrews.
Becky now works here at CCA, a Boston health care organization for low-income patients.
At CCA, she added, “they’ve given me so many responsibilities, and it’s helping me learn more about myself and my strengths and weaknesses.”
August 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
Commonwealth Care Alliance is pleased to have been chosen as one of the winners of the J-PAL North America at MIT, 2016 Health Care Delivery Innovation Competition.
Four organizations were chosen to partner with J-PAL North America to evaluate substance abuse treatment, care integration, social-service delivery and patient-engagement programs.
Click here to read MIT’s press release covering the announcement.
July 1, 2016 § Leave a comment
WCVB’s Chronicle reports that the average life expectancy in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood is just under 59 years, while only a few miles away, in the Back Bay, residents can expect to live into their early 90’s. Chronicle’s Ted Reinstein explores the reasons why this may be and discusses what’s being done to address the problem with Dr. Ajayi.
Dr. Ajayi, discusses various reasons for the difference including how residents outside the system are often unable to negotiate transportation to the hospital, struggle to understand the complexity of care being provided, and oftentimes navigating the system becomes daunting. She answers the question: How can this discrepancy exist in a city known worldwide for cutting edge health care?
“You have to continue to be angered by [the discrepancy], continue to be disturbed by it,” says Dr. Ajayi. “If we ever get to the point where we become so complacent as to believe that just because you’re poor or just because you live in a different neighborhood that you have a different set of expectations for your life, we are really in trouble.”
View the full segment here: “Chronicle: Tale of Two Neighborhoods”
June 28, 2016 § Leave a comment
An article from Pharmacy Practice News discusses how real-time IT strategies are gaining traction in the healthcare industry. CCA’s CEO, Christopher Palmieri is quoted saying, “We have the ability now to use predictive analytics to see what the future looks like based on the recent past.” This innovative approach helps hospitals improve patient outcomes and pharmacy experts are urging colleagues to follow suit.
Click here to read the full article.