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July 28, 2016

Central Mass. hospitals receive $1M for telemedicine

UMass Memorial Medical Center will be part of a telemedicine pilot.

Heywood Hospital and UMass Memorial Medical Center have received nearly $1 million in combined funds as part of a telemedicine pilot being conducted by the state.

The announcement of the funding was made Wednesday by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) as part of $11.3 million in health care investments. The funding for Heywood (capped at $499,860) and UMass Medical (capped at $496,184) is designed to extend behavioral health services in populations such as children or those with substance use disorders.

According to UMass Medical, the study will be used to connect patients with recovery coaches right at their bedside. 

"We have already been able to develop psychiatric programs to help patients in the medical hospital while recovering from overdoses and from substance use and look forward to expanding this with an telemedicine capacity," Dr. Alan Brown, vice chair of Adult Psychiatry Clinical Services at UMass Memorial, said in a statement.

UMass Medical will also receive up to $249,992 to improve care for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and for women in treatment for opioid use disorder during and after pregnancy, according to HPC.

The goal is to create innovative models that will deliver better health care at lower costs, according to the HPC. The HPC is an independent state agency that develops policy to reduce health care cost growth and improve the quality of patient care.

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