HARTFORD, Conn. (Sept. 26, 2019) – A group of Hartford social service organizations teaming up to reduce infant mortality and improve outcomes for families of young children and a collaborative of agencies in Waterbury working to better serve frequent emergency department visitors will receive grants from the Connecticut Health Foundation intended to support more systematic links between community-based organizations and local hospitals.
The grants grew out of the growing recognition that much of what influences people’s health happens outside the clinical care system, in people’s everyday lives. Community-based organizations often play a key role in helping people address factors that can affect their health, including access to stable housing, healthy food, and transportation. Yet the clinical care and social service systems generally operate separate from each other, limiting the ability of either one to effectively ensure that all of a patient or client’s needs are met. In other words, medical providers often recognize nonmedical needs patients have, and social service providers often know when a client needs medical care, but providers typically don’t have a seamless way to ensure their patients or clients get what they need from both systems.
The funding from the Connecticut Health Foundation is intended to help community-based organizations build their capacity to overcome some of the barriers to developing deeper links between health care and social service organizations, including differences in service delivery, funding, and data collection. Each collaborative of community-based organizations will receive a $75,000 grant and technical assistance for the first year of this work.
The two groups receiving the funding are:
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford, in partnership with The Village for Families and Children and the Hispanic Health Council, Hartford: These organizations will work together to develop a better system for home visiting services for pregnant women and families of young children. Their work will build on a project they are already undertaking with Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and the Hartford Department of Health and Human Services, with funding from the state Office of Early Childhood, to develop a home visitation system in Hartford that will provide a single point of entry for potential clients, refer them to the appropriate agency, and use a shared database between the agencies to identify how to best use resources. The funding from the Connecticut Health Foundation will help the organizations develop their capabilities – including measuring and reporting outcomes – to work in a more systematic way with Saint Francis, including potentially piloting a model in which the hospital would contract with the community-based organizations to help improve the health and well-being of their shared patients.
Greater Waterbury Health Partnership, working with Center for Human Development and New Opportunities, Inc., Waterbury: These organizations will work together to create a community care team, a model for bringing together health care and social service providers to better address all the needs of people who frequently seek emergency room care. Waterbury’s two hospitals, Saint Mary’s and Waterbury Hospital, are currently overwhelmed by readmissions and unnecessary emergency room visits because patients’ nonmedical needs are not being met in a systemic way. The Greater Waterbury Health Partnership – which includes funding from both hospitals and the local community health center StayWell Health Care – has looked into creating a community care team but found significant challenges related to sharing data about patients between different health care providers and community-based organizations. The funding from the Connecticut Health Foundation will help the hospitals, StayWell, and the community-based organizations to develop the infrastructure necessary to create a community care team that can successfully share patient data and address patients’ medical, behavioral health, and nonmedical needs, particularly housing and transportation.
“Health care and community-based organizations have worked together informally for many years, but to truly create a system that best serves the health and well-being of individuals, it is critical that they work together in a more systematic, integrated way,” said Patricia Baker, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “We are eager to see the collaborative work in Hartford and Waterbury unfold and to learn from their experiences as they come together to better serve their communities.”
In addition to the clinical-community integration grants, the Connecticut Health Foundation awarded three grants totaling $220,000. They are:
Community Catalyst, Boston: $60,000
This funding will support Community Catalyst in providing technical assistance to faith-based grassroots advocacy organizations in Connecticut that are involved in supporting policies that will advance health equity, with the goal of building the organizations’ capacity for successful advocacy.
Connecticut Voices for Children, New Haven: $110,000
This funding will support Connecticut Voices for Children’s work to ensure that children can be as healthy as possible. This includes a focus on ensuring that eligible children are insured through HUSKY (the state’s name for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program), identifying and addressing barriers to families maintaining coverage, and ensuring that health reform efforts advance health equity.
Hispanic Health Council, Hartford: $50,000
The Hispanic Health Council has long supported an increased role for community health workers – frontline public health workers who can serve as a bridge between clinical care and patients’ communities and everyday lives. This funding will support the organization’s continued work to advance sustainable ways to support the workforce, including helping to assure that the state’s implementation of a voluntary certification process for community health workers is successful, providing education and skill-building for community health workers about the coming certification process, and working with state agencies and commercial insurers on ways to pay for community health worker services in a sustainable way.
For more information, please contact Arielle Levin Becker at 860-724-1580 x 16 or firstname.lastname@example.org.