The grant covers a period from October, 2003, to September, 2004, and if the effort is successful the grant may be extended up to two additional years and $2.5 million. The Bangor-based Maine Hospital Alliance (MHA) developed the grant proposal with the hospitals, 325 Northern Maine physicians and the Penquis Community Action Program.
The MHA was founded in 1995 and represents its members on mutual issues of concern while providing continuing education opportunities and encouraging the sharing of critical expertise among its members.
The grant will help expand the use of the group's web-based disease management program currently used by four hospitals in the region and will support increased access to and coordination of health care services.
"This award reflects the continued support for our efforts to improve access to quality, affordable healthcare, and proper healthcare utilization for people in northern and eastern Maine," said William Diggins, MHA Executive Director. "Seventy-five to 80 percent of health care expenditures are for care of patients with chronic disease. This represents a huge amount of money and a tremendous opportunity to reduce costs."
Central to improving care of the chronically ill, according to Diggins, is providing every opportunity to help patients with chronic disease comply with their physician's prescribed treatment plan. The service underwritten by this grant and the health care organizations participating will seek to improve care and care coordination while reducing emergent and avoidable health care services.
Other programs that the MHA is noted for include:
• The early adoption of a treatment program to improve the health of congestive heart failure patients, now commonly used statewide.
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