News Briefs

CHA Wins MHQP Patient Experience Awards

Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a community health system serving Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities, has received three awards from Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) for being one of the top practices in Massachusetts for patient experience in primary care.

The “MHQP Patient Experience Awards” is an annual awards program introduced in 2018 by MHQP, a nonprofit measurement and reporting organization that brings together providers, health plans, and patients to improve the quality of patient care experiences in Massachusetts. MHQP conducts the only statewide survey of patient experience in primary care in Massachusetts. 

Awards were given to top overall performers in adult primary care and pediatrics in each of nine performance categories. Two CHA health centers won awards from Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) for patient experience in primary care. CHA Union Square Family Health received an adult care distinction for Office Staff Professional Excellence, and the CHA Broadway Care Center received pediatric care distinctions for Ease of Access to Care and Patient-Provider Communications.

“Even with the tremendous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, these teams consistently pulled together and put patients first,” said Lora Council, MD, CHA’s senior medical director of primary care. “This honor reflects the heartfelt work at the core of centering care around our patients’ needs.”

“Although the pandemic continues to have an immeasurable impact on healthcare everywhere, the 2021 winners of the 2021 MHQP Patient Experience Awards found a way to rise above this crisis and provide best-in-class patient experiences during a very challenging time,” said Barbra Rabson, MHQP’s president and CEO. “We are thrilled to congratulate each of them on behalf of their patients for their exceptional commitment to excellence.”

Since 1995, Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) has been leveraging its unique position as an independent coalition of key stakeholder groups (providers, payers and patients) in Massachusetts healthcare to help provider organizations, health plans and policy makers improve the quality of patient care experiences throughout the state. 

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health system committed to providing high-quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes two hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Lahey Health. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine.

State Doc to Be Outfitted with Body Camera

The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC), announced a pilot program to outfit correctional officers with Body-Worn Cameras (BWC). The DOC’s first-time use of officer-worn body cameras will launch at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center (SBCC), a maximum-security facility. EOPSS and the DOC began exploring the use of BWCs several months ago as part of continued efforts to enhance operational systems, improve safety for inmates and correctional officers, and advance transparency and accountability.

“Implementing this BWC pilot program reinforces our commitment to advancing the safety of correctional officers and those entrusted to their care. The program affords us the opportunity to explore how this technology can improve operational efficiency and enhance the value of transparency in our institutions,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy. 

The pilot program’s objectives are three-fold:

• Enhance communication and collaboration among DOC staff.

• Support improved interactions between staff and inmates.

• Strengthen transparency and accountability.

The initial deployment of BWCs is anticipated to begin in Summer 2022 at SBCC. Once deployed, they will augment the facility’s comprehensive network of existing stationary cameras.

“The Department supports implementation of the BWC pilot program to study how this advanced technology can serve an important role in correctional operations. This innovative tool has a proven track record of improving safety, providing valuable documentation for evidentiary purposes, resolving officer-involved incidents, and offering a useful training tool for the Department and its officers,” said DOC Commissioner Carol Mici.

The Baker-Polito Administration will invest $1 million in a two-phase pilot program, with funding included in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal. The pilot’s first phase will concentrate on technology needs, including an overall assessment of the body-camera style most conducive to the environment and an analysis of the technology needed by a DOC facility to effectively administer the program.

The pilot’s second phase will focus on operational implementation. A research team will evaluate the initial roll-out of the two-phased pilot program over several months. Information related to evidence collection, records retention, storage requirements and other operational matters will be assessed for best practices. Researchers will also evaluate internal data and key metrics to determine the program’s effectiveness and facilitate evidence-based policy decisions regarding programmatic

Celebrate National Unclaimed Property Day by Visiting Find Mass Money

State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg and the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators are celebrating National Unclaimed Property Day… and you should be too!

One in ten Massachusetts residents have unclaimed money including citizens like Kelly who recently discovered how easy it was to claim her money. 

“Checked my name and found money at FindMassMoney.com.” said Kelly. “Once I found money for myself, I started checking my family and friends…even work colleagues!  I found money for them too! With this ‘found’ money, we ordered take out from a local restaurant.  I didn’t have to cook, and we helped a struggling restaurant in our town.”

The Treasury is currently holding over $3.4 billion in unclaimed property. Treasurer Goldberg urges all citizens to check the comprehensive list for all amounts at www.findmassmoney.com or call our live call center at 888-344-MASS (6277).

“Take a minute on Unclaimed Property Day to check your name like Kelly,” said State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg. “Our team is prepared to walk you through the claims process.”

Unclaimed property includes forgotten savings and checking accounts, un-cashed checks, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, dividends, and the contents of unattended safe deposit boxes. Most accounts are considered abandoned and are turned over to the state after three years of inactivity. In 2021, Treasury processed over 113,000 claims and returned over $174 million in cash and securities to its rightful owners.

There is no time limit for a person to claim this property and, in many cases, claimants will receive interest. Searching for unclaimed money is always free by using FindMassMoney.com.

Driver’s License Bill Wins Support of 15 Mayors and Managers

15 Mayors and City Managers from across Massachusetts announced their support for The Work and Family Mobility Act in a letter submitted to the Joint Committee on Transportation.

The bill, currently awaiting a report from the Committee, would allow immigrants without status to qualify for a Massachusetts Standard Driver’s License, as long as there is valid proof of identity, date of birth, and Massachusetts residency.

The Act was reported favorably from the Committee on Transportation in 2020 and was poised for passage last session when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Reintroduced this session, the bill has now earned more than 100 co-sponsors in the House and Senate, and the Driving Families Forward Coalition supporting the bill has grown to include more than 270 endorsing organizations, including community, health, faith, labor, business, and law enforcement leaders.

Mayors and Managers from Amherst, Arlington, Boston, Brockton, Brookline, Cambridge (Mayor and City Manager), Chelsea, Malden, Medford, Newton, Randolph, Revere, Salem and Swampscott joined together in support of the bill. In the letter officials noted that the proposal would greatly improve road safety and increase the ease with which law enforcement officers conduct their regular duties.

“[T]his bill would provide broad benefits to our municipalities. Our streets will be safer for everyone when all drivers have passed road tests, and vehicles are registered and insured,” the letter reads, in part. “Indeed, many of our policy chiefs support the bill as a public safety tool and agree that it will enable law enforcement to better identify individuals at traffic stops or scenes of an accident”

“All Boston and Massachusetts adults deserve access to driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status. I support the Family Mobility Act because it will make all of us safer,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

“The Work and Family Mobility Act is a commonsense measure that will improve the safety of our streets and strengthen the ability of Massachusetts families and workers to access essential services, health care, education, and places of work,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll of Salem. “Massachusetts cities and towns have consistently stepped forward to help all of our residents, and now we’re calling on the legislature to do the same. This measure is endorsed by both law enforcement leaders and advocates for our immigrant neighbors. Let’s make sure our Commonwealth is a place that works for and welcomes everyone by adopting this important legislation.”

“Providing access to driver’s licenses to immigrants makes all of our communities safer and more equitable,” said Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.

“Swampscott is one of the most densely settled communities in the Commonwealth. As we look to the future, it’s clear we need a focus on pedestrian safety and complete streets to help balance the needs of all modes of transportation,” said Sean Fitzgerald, Swampscott Town Administrator.

“Welcoming new residents, regardless of where they come from or the circumstances of their arrival, is important to the long-term economic and social well-being of Greater Boston and the entire Commonwealth,” said Lizzi Weyant, Deputy Executive Director of Public Affairs and Advocacy at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in Boston, which led the creation of the municipal sign-on letter sent to the transportation committee.

“The Legislature has a real opportunity to meaningfully address some of the structural barriers facing our undocumented residents,” said Weyant. “This legislation gives us an opportunity to start to change the way that we treat and include vital members of our communities.”

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