The Opioid Crisis Demands Action. They’re Taking It.

Boston, Massachusetts and environs
Long-time BlueHub borrower Casa Esperanza keeps a laser focus on the holistic health needs of Massachusetts’ Latinx community — and today that requires using an electronic health record. We learned why from Executive Director Emily Stewart.
Headshot of Emily Stewart, Executive Director of Casa Esperanza
This will continue to yield dividends for our entire organization for decades to come. The time and effort will really be the engine of Casa’s growth and ability to meet the needs of the very vulnerable population we serve over the long term.”
Executive Director, Casa Esperanza

How does the opioid crisis create a need for an electronic health record (EHR)?

Culturally competent Spanish-language addiction treatment services are scarce, and, as the scope of the opioid epidemic continues to grow, providers are working hard to keep up with increasing demand. Casa Esperanza is one of the few organizations focused on the Latinx community.

Two years ago, we opened the first fully bilingual clinical stabilization program in Massachusetts at Tewksbury Hospital. It was the first time we built a program that is almost 100% dependent on third-party reimbursement. At the same time, the state was changing its reimbursement structure for residential treatment. For both, EHRs were critical to the billing process. We literally couldn’t operate without having an EHR in place.

working capital loan to create a new electronic health record and billing system.

And now you have found that it is useful across all your operations?

At Casa, we work with folks who have a wide range of challenges, and we know from our long experience that addressing just one aspect of these challenges is not effective. We use an integrated care model to better meet our patients’ complex health, social, and economic needs, and the EHR is the way we gather all the pertinent information. It allows us to see the whole picture and to share information across a team that includes everyone from case managers and peer recovery coaches to psychiatrists and nursing staff. We can only leverage our interdisciplinary team if everyone is on the same page. This EHR allows us to put our values into a tool staff use every day; it is really going to be the DNA of our organization.

A Casa Esperanza staff member
Jason is part of the Casa Esperanza team serving the Massachusetts Latinx community.

From a financing standpoint, this was an unusual challenge?

Developing this EHR system was like building a plane while trying to fly it. The design had to be customized to meet our unique needs. That meant conceptualizing its total value without knowing what the final product would look like. And this was the first time that we heavily invested in an asset that wasn’t a physical thing. To us, this wasn’t just valuable; it was essential. How do you put a dollar value on that?

We knew we had this great, long-standing relationship with BlueHub. They have been with us in so many projects and have always been extremely collaborative. But our typical experience with BlueHub has been about building affordable housing and other facilities. This project has been an adventure for both of us. BlueHub always takes the time to understand what our goals are, what our business is all about. I don’t know other lenders who would spend the amount of time BlueHub has spent in working through this project with us.

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