How are we going to change the cost curve in health care and provide the highest quality of care? Dr. Bob Master – one of the country’s leading health care visionaries – has a great answer.

Six years ago, Bob came to Community Catalyst as a fellow of the Institute of Medicine as a Profession. Our idea was that he would use the fellowship to incubate a care delivery system that would serve Massachusetts’ most vulnerable people, including frail older adults with chronic conditions, people with significant physical disabilities and people who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. By focusing on primary care and prevention, this system would deliver high quality care and reduce costs.

After two years at Community Catalyst, Bob launched the Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) upstairs from our offices on 30 Winter Street. We wanted to ground CCA closely to consumers, so Health Care For All and the Boston Independent Living Center became CCA’s corporate members and I became president of the board.

Six years later, Bob and his committed staff at CCA have created a comprehensive system of care that not only improves their members’ health, but also has been proven to lower costs by keeping people out of the hospital and out of nursing homes. Last year, NCQA, widely viewed as a national leader in driving healthcare improvement and quality, honored Bob for his efforts to successfully reform health care delivery by improving quality and reducing cost for Medicare and Medicaid Patients.

Recently, WBUR’s (Boston’s National Public Radio affiliate) CommonHealth blog ran a nice piece on Bob and CCA. So what does CCA’S care model look like? Here’s how the WBUR bloggers describe it:

The organization is essentially a full-service provider of medical care and social support for chronically sick, elderly and sometimes disabled people on Medicare, Medicaid, or both. From the moment a patient signs on, he or she has access — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — to a nurse practitioner who is armed with up-to-date electronic medical records and has the authority to call in other specialists as needed. Patients can choose from 25 primary care sites around the state, and for the homebound, house calls are also part of the plan. For those who need to get to the hospital, Commonwealth Care contracts with 8 hospitals in the state, but will only use providers who agree to Medicare reimbursement rates.

Continuity of care is essential. So the program offers non-traditional assistance to patients at no extra cost, including transportation to medical appointments and help with daily chores and activities. Commonwealth Care tries to rescue patients from the kind of fragmented, procedure-driven care that can leave them feeling like “an anonymous piece of baggage on a never ending airport conveyor belt, always tagged for the wrong destination,” as one senior put it.

This is precisely the kind of care that Community Catalyst and our partners at the Campaign for Better Care are pursuing as the Campaign works to implement the delivery and payment reform provisions of the new health law in ways that benefit older adults and their families.

Community Catalyst is proud to be able to highlight the good work at CCA, and we encourage Hub readers to get to know them better. To paraphrase an old saying, “We’ve seen the future of health care, and it is CCA.”

— Robert Restuccia, Executive Director