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Mass. receives $44m to further health care overhaul

Massachusetts will receive up to $44 million in federal money over three and a half years to continue ongoing efforts to change the state’s health care system.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Thursday that it would distribute $250 million to six states that are trying new methods of delivering care to people enrolled in government health care programs serving children, the poor, and the elderly.

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“Our hope is that the best ideas will spread throughout the country,” US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on a conference call.

In Massachusetts, the money will be used for various projects, including standardizing the way in which doctors and hospitals report on the quality of care they provide, using electronic health records, to make it easier to compare them. The state also will invest in education across hospitals and physician groups, setting up systems to share ideas for what works in cutting costs and improving care, said state Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz.

The federal money “helps reinforce the work that we’ve already done here in the state,” he said.

The money also is earmarked for expanding medical homes, which assign a team of providers to oversee a patient’s overall treatment.

Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at cconaboy@boston.com. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.
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