Bank of America has committed $5 million to Mass General and Brigham and Women’s to support specialty care programs and to improve patient access to them.

Bank of America LogoAiming to help address a pressing healthcare need of local communities, Bank of America has committed $5 million to Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to support the growth of specialty care programs and to improve patient access to them.

The funds will be divided equally between the two Partners HealthCare hospitals over a five-year period. The grant gives Peter Slavin, MD, and Betsy Nabel, MD, respectively the presidents of Mass General and Brigham and Women’s, the discretion to strategically allocate the funds to critical areas of need within their institutions.

“At Bank of America, we recognize that strong partnerships are fundamental to strengthening communities.”

“At Bank of America, we recognize that strong partnerships are fundamental to strengthening communities,” says Kerry Sullivan, president of The Bank of America Charitable Foundation Inc. “We’re honored to support this unique opportunity to advance a system of coordinated care across specialty programs at two of the country’s leading medical institutions, benefiting the local community as well as those around the world.”

Bank of America’s commitment comes as hospitals nationwide are facing economic pressure to innovatively coordinate such care in ways that maintain high quality while also broadening access and reducing costs. At the same time, demand is growing rapidly for specialty care programs ranging from cancer and cardiovascular disease to psychiatry and women’s health.

Gift Advances Specialty Programs

The two Partners hospitals say the gift will help them broadly advance specialty care programs featuring rapid transfer of medical information across providers as well as access to patient “navigators,” who can help patients arrange appointments and stay on track with treatment and wellness regimens.

Kerry Sullivan, president of The Bank of America Charitable Foundation Inc.
Kerry Sullivan, president of The Bank of America Charitable Foundation Inc.

Dr. Slavin has determined that the funds Mass General receives during the first year of the Bank of America grant will be used to support its ongoing initiative to prevent and treat alcohol and drug addiction.

Under the program, MGH community health centers in Charlestown, Chelsea and Revere have expanded their screening and addiction treatment programs. Meanwhile, in Boston, the main hospital has created a specialized addictions consult team to respond when a patient in need of addiction treatment is identified. The hospital has also hired additional recovery coaches to work in the Charlestown, Chelsea and Revere communities, and with Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. The program has also established a discharge clinic to help patients who are leaving the hospital and need immediate support to stay in recovery.

Tackling a Top Priority

“We are grateful for Bank of America’s generous gift, which will help us ensure that those suffering from addiction have every opportunity to recover.”

Substance use disorders, including use of alcohol, drugs and nicotine, affect more than 40 million Americans, or nearly 16 percent of the population – more than heart conditions, diabetes or cancer. National data indicate that 22 percent of hospitalized general medical patients have an active alcohol- or drug-use disorder. A 2011 study found the rate of emergency room visits for heroin use in the Boston metro area to be the highest in the country – almost four times the national average.

Tackling addiction is one of our top strategic priorities,” Dr. Slavin said. “We are grateful for Bank of America’s generous gift, which will help us ensure that those suffering from addiction have every opportunity to recover.”

Bank of America has long supported Mass General programs including the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, the MGH Bicentennial Scholars Program, and many others. In 2007 the company made a $5 million grant to Partners HealthCare for a loan repayment program for primary care physicians and nurse practitioners who commit to working at a community health center.

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