(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Subcommittee, announced that she has included $40 million to support Medical Home Demonstration Programs and collaborative health care networks in the Fiscal Year 2011 LHHS Appropriations bill. The funding will be used to provide grants to support Medical Home Demonstration Programs and Community-Based Collaborative Care Networks (CCNs) across Washington state and the nation that will provide low-income patients with better access to primary and preventive health care services while lowering costs.  

“Collaborative Care Networks will help communities begin implementing health care reform by improving the coordination of health care providers,” said Senator Murray. “I’m proud to have secured funding for these networks because it brings Washington state one step closer to meeting a primary goal of health care reform – making better care more accessible.”

Last year, Senator Murray successfully worked to include her language to authorize the creation of CCNs in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. CCNs are made up of hospitals, community health centers, and other care providers, that together offer coordinated care for low-income patient populations and medically underserved communities.

Over the long-term, CCNs will streamline the delivery of health care services at the local level to improve access and lower costs by reducing unnecessary emergency room use, improving outcomes, and providing greater access to primary and preventive care.

“At 15 years old, CHOICE is one of the oldest CCNs in the nation. In our region, we have cut unnecessary emergency department use in half, organized millions of donated care a year and walked with over 80% of the uninsured on their journey to access to care. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without Senator Murray shining the light of the value and benefit of CCNs. With this type of funding, we could take our work to the level it needs to be to successfully implement health care reform. We’ve worked towards this for 10 years!” said Kristen West, Executive Director of CHOICE Regional Health Network, which covers Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties. 

Having passed the full Senate Appropriations Committee, the bill will now go before the full Senate for consideration.