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Massachusetts General Hospital Receives NPSF 2011 Socius Award

Friday, May 27, 2011   (0 Comments)
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BOSTON, MA (May 27, 2011)- The National Patient Safety Foundation today presented the NPSF Socius Award to Massachusetts General Hospital and the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. Socius is the Latin word for “partner,” and the award symbolizes the relationship between health care providers and the patients and families they serve. The Socius Award was presented to Tim Ferris, MD, medical director, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization; Eric Weil, MD; and Melissa Vespa, program care manager, who accepted the honor on the organization’s behalf at the 2011 NPSF Patient Safety Congress in Washington, DC.


Massachusetts General Hospital was honored for a program, executed in conjunction with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to successfully raise the level of care given to patients with multiple chronic illnesses through the use of nurse case managers.

The Care Management Program was one of six three-year demonstration projects selected by CMS in 2005 to test a range of ideas for caring for the sickest 15 percent of Medicare patients, who account for more than 75 percent of the nation’s health care costs. Launched in 2006, the program initially enrolled 2,500 high-risk patients, coordinating and integrating their care needs across various conditions and challenges. Case managers assessed patient needs, collaborated with physicians to develop treatment plans, educated patients about options for medical treatment and support services, facilitated patient access to services and supported patient self-management of medical conditions.

Among the results of their work are the following:

    • Hospitalization rates, emergency room visits and mortality rates were statistically significantly lower for patients in the pilot program than for a comparison group;
    • Patients in the pilot reported higher satisfaction rates than the comparison group in regard to discussions and communication with the health care team;
    • Patients reported improved physical functioning;
    • An independent review found substantial, statistically significant reductions in the cost of care: savings to the Medicare program of $2.65 for every $1 spent on the Care Management Program for the program’s first three years, and an even greater savings – a $3.35 return on investment for every $1 spent – in the first 24 months of the renewal period.

“The purpose of the Socius Award is to recognize one organization each year that demonstrates effective partnering between patients and providers to improve patient safety,” said Diane C. Pinakiewicz, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation. “This pilot developed by Massachusetts General Hospital and the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization demonstrates the positive results of such partnering and brings to mind the true spirit of what the Socius Award represents.”

Based on the initial results, the Care Management Program was one of only three initiatives approved for a renewal by CMS. Approximately 1,700 new patients were added, and other hospitals have also been added to the program, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., and North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Mass.

“This patient safety success story showcases the power of focused collaboration, led by creative and committed management,” said Pinakiewicz. “In addition to contributing to the field, this program has significantly benefited patients.


About Massachusetts General Hospital

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of its founding in 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of nearly $700 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, reproductive biology, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine. For more information, visit

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