News Release

Grant will help sustain successful treatment model for children with mental health and medical needs

HARTFORD, Conn. (March 28, 2018) – Clifford Beers Clinic developed an innovative and successful program to better meet the needs of children and families with complex medical and mental health issues, and piloted it using a federal grant. With the federal funds expiring this year, the Connecticut Health Foundation has awarded Clifford Beers a grant to identify ways to sustain the model so it can continue serving children and families.

The grant is one of seven awarded this quarter by the Connecticut Health Foundation, the state’s largest independent health philanthropy.

Clifford Beers Clinic, based in New Haven, developed WrapAround New Haven to focus on families who have complex needs and use significant amounts of health care services. Taking a broad view of the factors that influence health, the model provides care management, mental health treatment, and medical support, and addresses both health care needs and other factors that can interfere with families’ well-being. To address barriers to care and increase the likelihood of promising outcomes, some elements of care were delivered in families’ homes. The pilot, which served 598 families covered by Medicaid, showed promising outcomes: decreased depression symptoms, reduced hospital stays and emergency department visits, and cost savings, particularly among patients with asthma, hypertension, heart disease, serious and persistent mental illness, or severe emotional disturbances. Health care costs dropped by an average of $600 per participant per month after enrollment in the program.

However, care management – the work that made WrapAround New Haven so successful – is not a billable service, meaning it is not paid for in the health care system’s current payment model. As a result, the expiration of the 3-year, $9.7 million federal grant means the model won’t be available to children and families covered by Medicaid unless policy changes are made to make it financially sustainable.

The $55,000 grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation is intended to support Clifford Beers’ work to identify ways to sustain the care management services, including developing a business plan and advocating for changes in how health care is financed. A separate $10,000 grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation will fund market research and financial modeling to support Clifford Beers’ efforts to launch a service line focused on care management for patients with complex needs that could be used by insurers and health systems.

There is already evidence of broader interest in the model. While the federal grant-funded pilot served Medicaid clients, Clifford Beers has reached an agreement with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to make similar services available to its members.

“Through this innovative model, Clifford Beers has been able to improve outcomes for vulnerable families. It is critical to ensure that promising models like this one can become sustainable so this innovation can benefit Connecticut families,” said Tiffany Donelson, the Connecticut Health Foundation’s vice president of program. “This program also underscores the importance of making sure the health care system pays for quality outcomes and encourages promising practices.”

“For complex patients, addressing their psychological and social needs can be as important as treating their medical conditions,” said Dr. Alice M. Forrester, chief executive officer at Clifford Beers. “All of that must be treated in the context of not simply an individual in a family, but in the context of the entire family. The current payment system is impeding the adoption of effective interventions that account for this whole-family, whole-person approach to care, particularly in high-need, high-cost patients. We know this is a better approach to care and look forward to finding a payment structure that can sustain it.”

Other grants awarded this quarter:

Connecticut Oral Health Initiative, Hartford: $85,000
Connecticut has made major strides in expanding access to oral health care, particularly for low-income children, resulting in improved outcomes. Yet these gains could be eroded by funding cuts, particularly in the state’s HUSKY program, that could lead to reduced coverage and access to dental care. The Connecticut Oral Health Initiative will work to protect and advance coverage and access to dental care for children and adults covered by Medicaid. This work will include partnering with other organizations to ensure the sustainability of community health centers and school-based health centers, which are critical sources of oral health care, particularly for low-income Connecticut residents.

New York University School of Medicine, New York: $50,000
New York University School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health has been conducting modeling to help design health insurance plans that encourage patients to get preventive, high-value health care by lowering their cost-sharing for these services. This work has been in support of Connecticut’s State Innovation Model, a federally funded initiative designed to redesign how health care is financed and delivered. This grant will allow NYU to conduct additional research on the return on investment for patient navigation for colorectal cancer screening, home-based interventions to improve control of asthma in children, and smoking cessation interventions. This research, which targets diseases that disproportionately affect people of color, is intended to help employers make decisions about whether to include these benefit designs in their health insurance plans.

Discretionary grants
President’s Discretionary Grants are awarded to organizations and institutions that respond to the foundation’s overall mission or priority areas.

Grantmakers In Health, Washington D.C.: $10,000
This grant will support the Terrance Keenan Institute for Emerging Leaders, which focuses on building leadership skills among individuals who could become the next generation of leaders in health philanthropy.

Open Communities Alliance, Hartford: $25,000
This grant will support planning work for a pilot project to examine the health impact of moving to healthier neighborhoods for low-income families with children experiencing environmentally triggered health issues such as asthma or lead exposure.

Penn Center for Community Health Workers, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia: $25,000
Three Connecticut organizations are developing programs to use community health workers to better link clinical care with their patients’ communities – part of the community and clinical integration program of Connecticut’s State Innovation Model, a federally funded initiative focused on redesigning how health care is financed and delivered. This grant will allow the Penn Center for Community Health Workers to provide technical assistance to these efforts to ensure that each community health worker program is as effective as possible and can be evaluated to determine the return on investment to ensure financial sustainability.

For more information, please contact Arielle Levin Becker at 860-724-1580 x 16 or

About the Connecticut Health Foundation
The Connecticut Health Foundation is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving lives by changing health systems. Since it was established in 1999, the foundation has supported innovative grantmaking, public policy research, technical assistance, and convening stakeholders to achieve its mission – to improve the health of the people of Connecticut. Over the past 18 years, the Connecticut Health Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $60 million in 45 cities and towns throughout the state.