At the Hospitals: Sept. 20, 2015

At the Hospitals: Sept. 20, 2015

Geisel Receives $5 million Grant to Study Motivation and Behavior Change

Hanover — The Center for Technology and Behavioral Health at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine has received a $5 million Common Fund grant from the National Institutes of Health for a project they hope will lead to better health outcomes and decreased medical costs.

The study will explore the psychological and biological underpinnings of motivation, “with an eye to developing better strategies that can help all of us improve our health,” Dr. Alan I. Green, chair of psychiatry at Geisel and a co-investigator on the project, said in a news release.

“Finding a way to enhance motivation toward increasing physical activity, eating the right foods and limiting smoking is essential.”

“Health-compromising behaviors,” such as poor diet, physical inactivity, and smoking contribute to nearly 40 percent of all chronic diseases and early death rates, Geisel said. Adding non-adherence to medical regimens — not taking prescribed medications or following a physician’s medical advice, creates “a potent recipe for poor patient outcomes.”

With their repeated utilization of health care services, these patients account for a disproportionately high percentage of health care costs, Geisel said. Understanding how people effectively self-regulate may limit the prevalence of non-adherence to medical advice and improve both outcomes and costs.

The researchers will study people who smoke and people who are obese, observing their brain functioning and tracking psychological variables, such as craving cigarettes or fatty foods, and the subjects’ behaviors.

Projects supported by the grant cut across disciplines and populations and are expected to lead to the development of novel tools and technologies. The Dartmouth-based study includes investigators at Stanford University, Arizona State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.

Vermont Community Health Centers Receive $2.7 Million in Federal Funds

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $2.7 million to 10 community health centers throughout Vermont. The health centers will use the money to offer more than 3,700 additional Vermonters low-cost prescription drugs and medical, dental and mental health care services, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in a news release.

Gifford Health Care in Randolph received $272,950, Little Rivers Health Care in Bradford received $250,668, and Springfield Medical Care System, $293,300.

The money is part of nearly $500 million in new funding from the department for community health centers across the country. Authorized by a Sanders provision in the Affordable Care Act that made available $11 billion for community health centers, it will provide health care services for 1.4 million new patients nationally.

“As the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health, I am proud we continue to see significant increases in the number of patients accessing health care at community health centers in Vermont and around the country,” Sanders said.

In 2006, fewer than 10 percent of Vermont residents received their health care at community health centers. This year, community health centers in the state will serve one in four Vermonters, according to the release.

Health centers provide comprehensive primary health care services on a sliding fee scale and low-cost prescription drugs to patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, as well as those who have no insurance.

But there’s more to be done, Sanders said.

“Millions of people across the country still do not have access to the primary care they need,” he said. “Congress must continue to protect and expand the health center program to ensure access to care in communities still in desperate need of health care services.”

Former White House Official Speaks at DHMC

Lebanon — Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle, who spearheaded President Obama’s effort to enact the Affordable Care Act and managed the initial implementation of the law, spoke at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on Thursday.

Her talk, “Memo for the Next President: Building on Obamacare’s Successes,” was presented at the second annual Wayne and Deborah Granquist Health Policy Grand Rounds, which brings speakers of national prominence to Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Wayne Granquist served on the boards of trustees of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic from 2000-2014. He chaired the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic board from 2007-2009 and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock board from 2010-2012.

DeParle is a partner at Consonance Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in innovative health care companies.

She is also a director of CVS Caremark and HCA Health, which comprises locally managed health care facilities in 20 states and employs about 204,000 people, according to its website.

DeParle is a member of the advisory board of the High Value Healthcare Collaborative.

The consortium of 13 healthcare delivery systems works to improve healthcare value — defined as quality and outcomes over costs, across time, for its service population, in a sustainable manner, while serving as a model for national healthcare reform, Dartmouth-Hitchcock said in a news release. Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a founding member of HVHC.

— Compiled by Aimee Caruso


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