Innovative care--and lower costs--for complex challenges.
The Healthy Lives program grew out of urgent need and creative thinking. For years, The Brookline Center had collaborated with local hospitals to serve patients in our community, but one population proved challenging to help: those who frequent emergency rooms because their complex medical and mental health issues often generate crises. A coordinated approach was needed to manage these patients’ health more effectively.
Founded in 2010, the Healthy Lives Partnership has pioneered an effective program for coordinated care. This collaborative Brookline Center endeavor helps individuals with serious mental health and medical conditions experience better health and avoid costly hospitalizations, as an innovative solution to a serious public health challenge.
Dr. Peter Gonzalez of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center explains, “It’s frustrating when you know that you could take better care of medical problems—conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes are actually pretty manageable—but you don’t see progress with certain patients whose complex socio-economic or mental health issues stand in the way. The Brookline Center’s team provides intensive care management for patients who, on their own, wouldn’t know where to go or what to do. There are problems the team has been able to solve—like finding suitable housing or accessing benefits—that doctors are not as equipped to address. Once these psychosocial needs are taken care of, the medical problems become easier to treat.”
Healthy Lives patients typically see a 35% drop in emergency room visits and experience a 19% reduction in hospitalizations, improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.
Dr. Peter Gonzalez notes, “I think success depends on making a personal connection. The Brookline Center team doesn’t give up after one phone call or missed appointment; this makes all the difference. Without them, these patients would wind up spending a lot of their time in the emergency room.”