Governor’s Blueprint for Health Awards Grants to Manage Chronic Conditions

For Immediate Release: June 23, 2006
Contacts: Jason Gibbs, 802-828-3333
Vermont Department of Health, 802-863-7281

JAMES H. DOUGLAS
GOVERNOR
State of Vermont
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

MONTPELIER – Governor Jim Douglas announced today grants totaling $519,000 to four hospitals committed to addressing and mitigating the impact of chronic health conditions in their respective communities.

The grants, part of the Blueprint for Health program, were awarded to: Central Vermont Physician Hospital Organization ($165,000); Fletcher Allen Health Care ($150,000); Springfield Hospital ($104,000); and Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center ($100,000).

The Blueprint for Health is a public-private partnership implemented by the Department of Health that includes state government, health insurance plans, business and community leaders, health care providers and consumers.  The program is built on the premise that the prevention of chronic illness, coupled with improved care, will help Vermonters live healthier lives and reduce the overall demand for costly medical services.

The four grants announced today will be used to offer Healthy Living workshops to help people become better self-managers; develop community physical activity programs for people with - or at risk for - chronic diseases; and assist local physician offices in changing procedures and implementing clinical information systems to improve the way health care is provided.

Fifty-five percent of adults statewide have a chronic disease or condition, and the percentage escalates sharply to 88 percent for Vermonters older than 65. Seventy-eight percent of Vermont’s health care spending is for chronic disease. Leading causes of chronic diseases include obesity, tobacco use, poor diet and lack of exercise and alcohol use.

“A core principle of the Blueprint for Health is that the responsibility for good health must be shared by consumers, providers, communities and the health care system,” said Governor Douglas. “We will continue to provide Vermonters with the resources and tools necessary for improved prevention and management of chronic conditions. The state has made a substantial investment in this initiative and we anticipate significant cost savings will result. The benefit to the overall health of our communities should be immediate and widespread.”

 “It is critically important for the provider community to change the way we care for individuals with chronic conditions,” said Dr. John Brumsted, chief quality officer at Fletcher Allen Health Care. “We must assure that we link what we do in the office setting with the resources available in the community, in order to best support our patients in effective management of their health. The Blueprint is helping providers and communities to activate these community links in order to improve the health of individuals with chronic conditions.”                  

The Vermont Blueprint for Health will also award continuation grants to the two communities that piloted the program in 2005: Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington and Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury.

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