Clinically Integrated Network News

Please click the links below to read the latest news sent to our Network.

 

A Message for the Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network

 

January 20, 2022

 

Dear Colleagues:

 

The Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network’s vision is to build healthier communities as we accelerate the shift to value-based care. Wellforce, as a health system, is leading change in our community in support of that vision. 

Today, we are announcing a major initiative to advance our patient and care team experiences and to expand the reach of our Health System across New England. 

Effective July 1, 2022 and pending regulatory approval, Tufts Children’s Hospital will enter into a collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) and will close its 41 pediatric inpatient beds, transitioning care for children requiring inpatient admissions to BCH.

In addition, we have begun discussions with BCH on how to best structure the future of our subspecialty clinics (Boston, Brockton, Chelmsford, Lawrence and Woburn), our outpatient surgical/procedural services and our pediatric hospitalist network (Signature Healthcare Brockton, Lawrence General, Lowell General, MelroseWakefiled and MetroWest hospitals).

Level III neonatal intensive care services will continue to be offered at Tufts Medical Center, as they serve as a vital component to the growth of Tufts MC’s highly regarded Maternal Fetal Medicine program and the strong network that has been built across eastern Massachusetts by our neonatology team.

As we make this announcement, we also celebrate the legacy of commitment and caring by the Tufts Children’s Hospital pediatric staff from the founding of the “The Floating” to today. That legacy is what enabled this collaboration with BCH.

Concurrently, we will begin the process to obtain regulatory approval to expand our inpatient capacity at Tufts MC. This will enable Wellforce to address unmet demand for care of critically ill adult patients, while assuring that your pediatric patients continue to get extraordinary care, now through our collaboration with BCH.

We recognize that a strategic decision of this magnitude may create disruptions in the near-term that must be messaged and managed. Several helpful communications resources have been developed for you and your patients, including:

We also plan to host informational webinars for physicians and practice staff to keep you informed about progress to establish the collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital. Please look for future announcements of dates/times. All webinars will be recorded for “on demand” listening/viewing.

Our collaboration with BCH is a strategic decision that underscores the Wellforce commitment to accelerate change to improve the health of our communities. Over the next several months as the transition is operationalized, there will undoubtedly be questions that arise. We will be intentional about providing you with the information you need in a timely and concise manner to respond to questions from your patients and colleagues. In the interim, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.

 

With warm regards,

Emily Young

President

Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network

 

Read full message here.

Click here for the Briefing that was sent to our Network.

Topics include:

  • 1/19 COVID-19 Update Webinar
  • COVID-19 Answer Center
  • Testing
  • Treatment
  • Key Reminders

Click here for the Briefing that was sent to our Network.

Topics include:

  • Message from Dr. Osborn: Help Needed To Address COVID-19 Surge: Telehealth and Testing
  • Jan. 6, 2022 COVID-19 Update Webinar
  • New Programs for Our Network

Click here for the Briefing that was sent to our Network.

Topics include:

  • Jan. 6, 2022 COVID-19 Update Webinar
  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Testing
  • New CDC Guidelines: Isolation and Quarantine
  • Office Practice Tips

Click here for the Briefing that was sent to our Network.

Topics include:

  • Jan. 6, 2022 COVID-19 Update Webinar
  • Message from Dr. Osborn
  • COVID-19 Info for Patients
  • New Boston Vaccine Requirement
  • Holiday Party Safety
  • Omicron
  • New Programs for Our Network

December 13, 2021

 

Dear Colleagues:

Momentum is building as we establish a Clinically Integrated Network that is meaningfully, distinctively different for our physicians, patients, and communities. 

We are pleased to report that Emily Young, MBA, has been named President after serving in the role on an interim basis since May 2021. Click here to read the media statement announcing the good news.

Emily’s appointment follows an extensive national search that culminated in an interview process involving dozens of physicians from across our Network. All who met with Emily were impressed by her passion to realize our vision for a Network unlike any other in our market – one where patients and physicians can truly thrive in today’s tumultuous health care environment. We look forward to working with Emily and her team to accomplish this most pressing priority.

Read more

Click here for the Briefing that was sent to our Network.

Topics Include:

  • 12.1 IEP for Home Seminar Series
  • 12.2 COVID-19 Update Webinar
  • By 12.31: Complete Diversity and Culture Module
  • ICYMI: Programs for Our Network

Materials for Patients  - What To Do When You Think You Need the Emergency Room

(This Template is adapted from a document created by Hallmark Health)

Download, customize and share this template when advising patients where to seek care under different circumstances. Ensuring patients choose the right setting for their condition is important, as it saves time spent in a waiting room and ensures that emergency resources are available for those who truly need them.

Click here for further guidance from Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA).

Click here for the Briefing that was sent to our Network.

Topics include:

  • This Thursday (11.18): Risk Adjustment Coding Webinar
  • Encouraging Pediatric Vaccination
  • Leadership Development Program
  • Clinical Guidance for Practices
  • EpicEdge Town Halls
  • IEP for Home Seminar Series
  • Overview of the Wellforce Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO
  • By 12.31: Complete Diversity and Culture Module
  • ICYMI: Programs for Our Network

Colleagues:

I’m pleased to update you on progress to name the ongoing president of the Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network.

You will recall that the Wellforce CIN Board named Emily Young as Interim President in July 2021 to provide strong executive leadership while a national search for a president was conducted. The Board remains grateful to Emily for her work to chart the Network’s initial course and stand-up its management systems.

The Board has been working with a nationally recognized search firm to manage recruitment of both internal and external candidates. Hundreds of candidates have been contacted and dozens vetted. The Board has concluded its first round of interviews with seven promising candidates and has selected three to move forward in the process.

In the weeks ahead, several dozen physicians from across our Network – in addition to key executives – will be invited to interview the three candidates. Findings from these interviews will help the Wellforce CIN Board select a candidate or candidates to participate in final interviews to take place before calendar year-end. 

I look forward to keeping you informed as additional progress is made.

Best,

Mike

Michael Wagner, M.D. FACP

Chief Physician Executive 

Wellforce

Email: michael.wagner [at] wellforce.org

Mobile: 617-549-4076

Click here for the Performance Briefing that was sent to our Network.

Topics include:

  • Tips from WCIN PCPs
  • Colonoscopy Screenings
  • A1c Exams
  • Women's Health
  • Adolescent HPV Series
  • CPT Codes
  • COVID-19 Antibody Testing
  • Post-Acute Care Guide
  • Programs for our Network

Developmental/Behavioral Pediatric Support

Individualized Education Program (IEP) for Home – An Educational Tool for Parents to use with their primary care providers and primary care office staff

The Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network has collaborated with Erik von Hahn MD, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician from the Center for Children with Special needs at Tufts Children’s Hospital. As part of this collaboration, Dr. von Hahn developed a parent/caregiver-oriented website with valuable information that parents can use to promote their child’s development.

Interested in learning more? Join us the first Wednesday of each month for the IEP for home Seminar Series. 

Materials for Download:

Mark Gilchrist, MD, FAAP, has been named Vice Chair of the Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network Board, succeeding David Pickul, MD.   

Dr. Gilchrist has served as a Trustee of the Wellforce CIN Board since the Network’s launch in July 2021. He was among the 14 physicians who guided the formation of the Wellforce CIN, a distinctively different population health management and value-based care contracting entity.

Dr. Gilchrist is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice practice in Chelmsford, MA.  A graduate of Chelmsford High School and the University of Miami, Dr. Gilchrist received his medical degree from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children in Orlando, Florida.

In addition to his roles within the Wellforce CIN, Dr. Gilchrist is Chair of the Board of the Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization, as well as medical adviser for The Paul Center in Chelmsford and Greater Lowell Family YMCA. He also has served as Chief of Pediatrics at Lowell General Hospital and as Chair of the Board of Directors of The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell.

 

Dr. David Pickul’s death on September 15, 2021 is a stunning development that none of us could have foreseen, least of all his loving wife and family. More than once since then I have found myself thinking, “I want to connect with David about this or that.” It will take all of us some time to process the loss and fully absorb its implications.

From the outset, David was a driving force behind the Wellforce CIN. Our new Network exists in large part due to his leadership and tenacity. He was firmly convinced that the time had come to do something different, to be something different – all in pursuit of improved community wellbeing and more rewarding experiences for physicians.

David was willing to take the same leap of faith each of us has to create a Network unlike others – to move forward even when we don’t have all the answers. His “tell it like I see it” approach to problem-solving inspired the rest of us to be equally candid. David never shied away from tackling thorny issues, but his unfailing good humor made sure we emerged from debates as colleagues and friends.

His energy, wisdom and steadfast commitment to work in the best interests of patients and their physicians will be sorely missed.

 

Michele Crage, MD

Board Chair

 

 

 

 

I am very pleased to report that our Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network (CIN) has achieved one of our primary goals – to establish a system-wide Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) Enhanced Track option effective January 1, 2022. Our plan has been approved by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Wellforce Joint Payer Contracting Committee.

Starting in 2022, providers currently participating in NEQCA’s Next Generation ACO model and providers participating in the Circle Health Alliance (CHA) ACO Medicare MSSP will join together in our new Wellforce Medicare ACO.  This ACO will retain CHA’s existing five-year MSSP agreement, which has the most favorable benchmark of all Medicare ACO options available for 2022.  Together, our providers will be accountable for advancing the quality and efficiency of care for approximately 50,000 beneficiaries. 

Achieving this goal would not have been possible without the visionary leadership of our Wellforce CIN Board and essential insights from our Local Care Organization leaders. Creating the Wellforce Medicare ACO also involved substantial contributions by our tenacious team of ACO experts from our Braintree and Lowell offices. They spent six months navigating myriad details to bring together our two successful Medicare ACOs into one. I sincerely appreciate the hard work of all who helped us reach this important milestone. 

You will hear more about the Wellforce Medicare ACO in the months ahead as we work together to advance the health and wellbeing of Medicare beneficiaries. Until then, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

 

Emily Young

Interim President

Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network

 

You're Invited: COVID-19 Update Webinar

Please join us on Tuesday, September 14 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. for the latest updates about variants, vaccines, boosters, flu vaccine, breakthrough infections, masking, treatments and testing. All members of the Wellforce Physician Community are invited to attend. Please share this message with interested colleagues

 

Click here to join the meeting. Or, use the dial-in information below. 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://wellforce.zoom.us/j/92130556306

One tap mobile

+16468769923,,92130556306# US (New York)

Dial by your location

+1 646 876 9923 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 921 3055 6306

Find your local number: https://wellforce.zoom.us/u/azDlTppiJ

 

 

Your response would be appreciated by Friday, 9/3.

To our esteemed colleagues,

We are excited to announce a new leadership opportunity for two physicians from our Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network.

Wellforce is forming a Pharmacy & Therapeutics (P&T) Committee and is looking for two community-based primary care physicians – one adult and one pediatric – to play key roles. 

P&T Committee members will provide system-level oversight and feedback for pharmacy and therapeutics, bringing the unique perspective of our Clinically Integrated Network into the decision-making process. 

Your voluntary participation would require a commitment to meet for a few hours about four times a year. 

Would you please complete this form by September 3, 2021 to express your interest or if you have questions?

We thank you for giving the opportunity your serious consideration; the perspectives of community-based PCPs like you are important and very much appreciated.

 

Sincerely,

Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network

Medical Leadership Team

Megan Cardoso, MD

Ben Kruskal, MD

Frank Osborn, MD

Pratiksha Patel, MD

 

 

To the Wellforce Physician Community:

I am writing to ask for your support as we continue to battle COVID-19. We are a year and a half into the pandemic, facing the Delta and other variants, rising infections and another school year.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is more important than ever. We are fortunate to live in a state with a good level of vaccine adoption. As vaccines are required at our Wellforce system, colleges, universities and businesses, some of your patients will ask you to provide documentation exempting them from the mandate.

When should vaccination exemptions be granted?

There are always unique cases where an exemption may make sense, but these cases are few and far between. I urge you to only offer patients a letter of exemption, or to fill out an exemption form for a true contraindication to vaccination. To help you with this important decision-making, please consult this briefing document and COVID-19 Patient Information Sheet.

Denying a patient's request is never easy for you or your staff. I sympathize with this challenge, but would call upon you to fulfill your duty to all of your patients and to society in general.

Resources for you and your patients

Thank you for your time and your support.

Sincerely,

Frank Osborn, MD

Interim Chief Medical Officer

Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network

July 1, 2021

Announcing the Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network 

There are no limits to what physicians can do when we come together to make change happen.

For the past six months, we physicians have been meeting to find common ground on how to successfully build healthier communities and sustainable physician practices. We have explored the challenges that are shared across our region and networks. As a group, we debated methods to mobilize physicians and architect a Network capable of delivering meaningful, sustainable, and distinctive value for physicians, patients, and communities.

Today, we are pleased to announce the formation of a single population health and value-based care contracting entity that builds upon the best of Lowell General PHO and New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA).

We are calling ourselves the Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network (Wellforce CIN) for the time being, while Wellforce continues its work to introduce a unified brand across our health system. Our new Network embraces primary care and specialist physicians, in private and employed practices, working as community and academic providers. Our aim is to improve community wellbeing and to create healthy, rewarding experiences for our physicians.

The Chair of the Board of our new Network is Dr. Michele Crage and the Vice Chair is Dr. David Pickul. Other Physician Trustees include Drs. David Criss, Dan Driscoll, Mark Gilchrist, Karen Freund, Kelli Kennedy, and Peter Roman. In addition, Jody White of Circle Health will serve as a Trustee. We are confident that as these leaders start working together you will experience something new, while continuing to enjoy the benefits that have set NEQCA and Lowell General PHO apart for many years.

The broad outlines of the new Network were shared with you at our recent ForumsMore details will come your way as the Board becomes active. In the interim, please reach out to us or to Emily Young, Interim Network President.

Your voice matters as we stand-up this new Network. We are looking for broad and active engagement from participating physicians as we take ownership over the success of this new venture.

 

With appreciation,

Craig Best, MD

Michele Crage, MD

David Criss, MD

Dan Driscoll, MD

Karen Freund, MD

Bill Galvin, MD

Mark Gilchrist, MD

Ted Herwig, MD

Michael Jiser, MD

Kelli Kennedy, MD

Frank Osborn, MD

Tushar Patel, MD

David Pickul, MD

Peter Roman, MD

May 7, 2021

A Message for the Wellforce Physician Community

All Members of Lowell General PHO and NEQCA

 

Colleagues:

Would you please plan to attend one of three upcoming Forums to learn about the Wellforce Clinically Integrated Network and how it will benefit you, your practice and your patients?

Background

In the Fall of 2020, we came together as physician leaders from New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA) and the Lowell General PHO to build a physician Network ​that is distinctively different from anything in the market. Our goal was to create a strategic business enterprise, built and governed by doctors, to manage populations and value-based care. The new Network will go live in June 2021. We want to update you on the build.

The new Network will be different from anything in the market because it is pluralistic, bringing together private-practice and employed physicians, community- and academic-based providers, and primary care and specialist clinicians. It will be different because success is not defined as hospital admissions or financials but healthier communities and sustainable physician practices. And, the Network will be different because it reflects our belief that care is best managed and improved by local care teams working close to the point of service.

Speaking at the Forums will be the LGPHO and NEQCA physicians who have led the Network’s development. Also attending will be Michael Dandorph, Wellforce CEO, Michael Wagner, MD, Wellforce Chief Physician Executive, and Emily Young, Interim Network President. We will provide an update on what’s planned and then leave time to listen to your input and answer your questions.

As the physician leaders who are making decisions about our future Network, we sincerely hope that you will attend a Forum, share your point of view, and help us build a meaningfully different "Doctors’ Network."

We look forward to seeing you at a Forum that is most convenient for you to attend.

 

Craig Best, MD

Michele Crage, MD

David Criss, MD

Dan Driscoll, MD

Bill Galvin, MD

Mark Gilchrist, MD

Ted Herwig, MD

Michael Jiser, MD

Kelli Kennedy, MD

Frank Osborn, MD

Tushar Patel, MD

David Pickul, MD

Peter Roman, MD

Eric Silverman, MD

Michael Wagner, MD

May 6, 2021

A Message for the Wellforce Physician Community

 

Dear Physician Colleagues,

Over the last 12 months, we have had the honor of working with many of you to craft a new vision for how physicians can partner together to truly deliver something different and better for our communities and for one another. It is true that the Boston area is home to some of the best physicians, hospitals, and health systems in the world. Yet, no matter where in the region people get their care or which system physicians are aligned with, they tell us that there are unmet needs when it comes to building healthy communities, creating great care experiences, and sustaining successful physician practices.

We listened. We brought together the best thinking of physicians from the Lowell General PHO and NEQCA to imagine a different kind of Clinically Integrated Network. In our planning, we pushed well past incremental improvement in the status quo. Rather, we challenged ourselves to build a Clinically Integrated Network that communities, patients and providers would experience as meaningfully, distinctively different. 

 

Our New Network

Today, we are pleased to share more about this new Clinically Integrated Network that unites the physicians of NEQCA and the Lowell General PHO and will officially launch in June 2021. This Network is a departure from our past because it is organized as a separate strategic business line, not an extension of a hospital, docking-in to the Wellforce Chief Physician Executive. It elevates the physician voice as Network "owners," with authority to drive strategy, allocate resources, and design care models across Wellforce. The Chair of the Network Board will represent you on the Wellforce system Board with a voice equal to the hospital Board Chairs. And, the Network will organize local care teams in regions to manage the health of populations and build smart systems of care that deliver superior experiences across episodes of service. We will brand the Network soon.

 

Interim Network President

Emily Young will serve as Interim President of our new Clinically Integrated Network, providing strong executive leadership while a national search for a permanent president is completed. 

Emily currently serves as Executive Director of the Lowell General PHO and Vice President for Population Health and Transformation at Circle Health. She will work with the Clinically Integrated Network's Board, the senior leadership team at NEQCA, and Local Care Organization (LCO) leadership to chart the organization's initial course and stand-up its management systems.

We have great confidence in Emily. During her interim leadership of the new Network, Emily has the authority and accountability to lead boldly in pursuit of the Network's initial contracts and goals. Emily is a thoughtful, inclusive and strategic leader who served on the team that brought the new Network from a set of ideals defined by physicians to a ready-to-launch enterprise. We are delighted that she will continue to provide that leadership as we operationalize our new Network.

 

Upcoming Forums

As you can see, there is a great deal of momentum for the Clinically Integrated Network. We want to make sure you have the latest information, as well as to provide you with opportunities to ask questions and provide input. We will hold informational forums over the coming three weeks. Please look for an invitation with details coming to your email box soon. 

This is an exciting time for physicians across Wellforce but also for our market. We are delivering on the promise of what is needed and what is possible. We are so very grateful for the insights and support you have provided already and hope you will join us in supporting Emily and the entire team of our bold Network.

 

Sincerely,

Michael Wagner, MD

Wellforce Chief Physician Executive

and the Physician Members of the Network Formation Committee:

 

Craig Best, MD

Michele Crage, MD

David Criss, MD

Dan Driscoll, MD

Bill Galvin, MD

Mark Gilchrist, MD

Ted Herwig, MD

Michael Jiser, MD

Kelli Kennedy, MD

Frank Osborn, MD

Tushar Patel, MD

David Pickul, MD

Peter Roman, MD

Eric Silverman, MD

Contact Us

Interested in learning more?

Please contact Michael Wagner, MD

Wellforce Chief Physician Executive

Phone: 978-942-2330

Email us