Robert Master

Ashoka Fellow
United States,
Fellow Since 2011
Commonwealth Care Alliance


This profile was prepared when Robert Master was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
A physician with more than thirty years of experience serving low-income, elderly, and disabled patients, Bob is a pioneer of patient-centered healthcare in the United States. He founded the Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) to bring high-quality and personalized care to people with complex medical and behavioral health needs, resulting in improved health and better self-management of chronic illness, and thus reducing hospitalizations and institutionalizations.

In a country facing a healthcare crisis—one characterized by rapidly rising costs, an aging population, and sometimes inefficient and ineffective care—Bob’s paradigm actually improves quality while reducing cost. His nonprofit health alliance serves high needs patients—in particular the elderly and the disabled—many of whom are Medicare and Medicaid “dual eligibles” and account for a huge percentage of healthcare expenditures. CCA uses the savings from reduced hospitalizations and nursing home placements to provide a wide range of individualized round-the-clock services in the home and community through multidisciplinary teams. Bob’s innovation lies not only in the low-cost delivery of tailored care but also in the financing of that care, in the coordination and simplification of complicated health systems like Medicare and Medicaid, and in the use of computer technology to both deliver care and measure results.

Today this model is flourishing in Massachusetts and is regarded by many in the field as a paradigm of high-quality, integrated, preventive care essential for the future of healthcare in this country. Armed with robust proof of cost reduction, and backed by many in the healthcare industry, Bob is seeking to scale his model to reach larger numbers of society’s most vulnerable citizens.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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