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  • Jan 31, 2022

CHA Excels in Administering COVID-19 Vaccines to MassHealth Members

CAMBRIDGE – Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a leading Massachusetts safety net healthcare system, has achieved one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates for MassHealth members in the Commonwealth.

According to data from MassHealth, adults attributed to Tufts Health Together with CHA had the second highest rate of COVID-19 vaccination among ACO and Managed Care Organization (MCO) programs. As of July 30, 2021, more than 55% of eligible members at CHA had been vaccinated. This allowed CHA to achieve MassHealth goals for vaccination of adults living in the 20 towns and cities identified as being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic: Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield and Worcester.

"CHA’s vaccine performance reflects the system’s decades-long commitment to pursuing greater health equity and specifically its passion for serving people disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including non-English speakers and communities of color," said Kathy Betts, CHA’s senior director of community health improvement. "Our multi-pronged initiative has provided greater access to COVID-19 vaccines while addressing the vaccine hesitancy and cautiousness in our patient population."

Efforts to date have included opening public vaccination centers and holding more than 100 pop-up vaccination clinics at public schools, public housing, and houses of worship. At the same time, CHA’s robust multilingual education campaign used community health workers on the ground, ethnic media, videos, memes and expert interviews to build vaccine acceptance in hard-hit local communities. This strong, collaborative effort was made possible by both CHA and Point32Health (formerly Tufts Health Public Plans).

Over the past 6 months, CHA has maintained focus on the health of its patients and communities. Current vaccination data shows that MassHealth members who get their primary care at CHA are still more likely to be vaccinated than other Medicaid patients of the same broad racial categories enrolled in other ACO and MCO plans. This validates the CHA model and shows the value of strong, community-based primary care networks during the pandemic.

"Both our patients and staff have been through so much during the pandemic," said Lora Council, MD, CHA’s vice president and senior medical director of primary care. "That’s why this data is so encouraging. It shows that we are truly making a difference where it is needed most. While we have much work to do, such as increasing vaccination rates in children and adolescents, we know that we have the right approach to address the next phase of the pandemic and improve lives in our underserved communities."

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