United Hospital Fund Awards Grants Totaling $265,000 to Improve Health Services in New York City

Release Date: 06.27.2013
Contact: rdeluna@uhfnyc.org
Contact Phone: 212 494 0733

The United Hospital Fund today announced eight grants, totaling $265,000, for projects to improve health care services in New York. Among the projects funded are a palliative care program to better serve nursing home residents with dementia, the creation of a referral system to connect low-income patients with essential non-medical resources, the pilot-testing of a care-coordination model to better serve patients in a network of primary care providers, and the continuing development of a community-based model of diabetes management for seniors.

“Health care delivery is evolving rapidly, and these grants all focus on different aspects of this evolution,” said Jim Tallon, president of the United Hospital Fund. “From improving the quality of care in nursing homes, to connecting patients with services to address unmet social needs, to developing a single model of care coordination in a primary care network, to bringing different parts of a community together to tackle the challenge of diabetes among seniors—we have chosen these deserving grant recipients to take their forward-looking proposals and test them in real-world practice.”

Details on the grants are included below.

Improving Quality of Care
Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter ($75,000, over 18 months)
To complete a project—initiated with the aid of a 2012 Fund grant—to improve care for nursing home residents with advanced dementia by implementing a model residential palliative care program.
In 2012, the New York City chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association partnered with three nursing homes—Cobble Hill Health Center, Isabella Geriatric Center, and Jewish Home Lifecare—and three hospices—Calvary Hospice, Metropolitan Jewish Hospice and Palliative Care, and Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice and Palliative Care—in a 30-month project to implement a model palliative care program for nursing home residents with late-stage dementia. This model, developed by the Beatitudes Campus of Care in Phoenix, Arizona, focuses on identifying and treating physical and psychic pain,  creating a calmer environment on dementia units, and eliminating restrictive diets while making food available at all times. One unit at each nursing home is participating in a one-year pilot of the model, to be completed in December 2013. This new grant will help enable additional education and support to the pilot units, and the development of a referral process with its hospice partners. Each of the nursing homes will develop education programs for families to gain their support. An evaluation will assess the pilot’s impact on costs, resident quality of life, and staff and family satisfaction. If the evaluation demonstrates the program can improve outcomes without increasing costs, the program will be expanded to all units in the nursing homes. The grant will also help fund the development of a model-implementation guide for nursing homes, to be distributed throughout the state.

Redesigning Health Care Services
Health Leads ($45,000)
To improve the access of low-income families to housing, food, job training, and other essential resources by integrating automatic screening and referrals to supportive services into clinical care.
The health care system is not designed to address the unmet resource needs (e.g., food and housing) of low-income patients and their families. The Health Leads Desk program uses volunteers to connect families with community resources, including food, housing, GED programs, and job training. In New York City, 120 volunteers staff desks at Bellevue Hospital Center, Harlem Hospital Center, NewYork-Presbyterian’s Washington Heights Family Health Center, and Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center. However, there is no standard screening and referral mechanism in place, and some families are not made aware of the desk program during their visits. Health Leads will work with its four New York City sites to develop universal screening and referral mechanisms. Each site will form its own project team, and screening and referral procedures and tools will be developed and customized for each clinic. Each site will conduct an initial test of the screening and referral process with a selected target population and develop a plan for full implementation.

The Institute for Family Health ($70,000)
To improve health outcomes and reduce costs by developing and pilot-testing a single model of care coordination.
Like many providers, the Institute provides care coordination services through a number of programs that target special, underserved populations. Each of these programs operates with its own set of rules, staff configurations, and training requirements, and some patients that could benefit from care coordination services are not eligible. To improve efficiency and extend care coordination to all patients that could benefit, the Institute will develop a single model of care coordination that can be implemented across its network of sites. New care coordination teams will be formed, and standardized job descriptions and a core training curriculum will be developed. The new model will be piloted at several primary care sites. Patient outcomes and costs will be tracked to inform the fine-tuning and evaluation of the model. At the end of the project year, new sites will be targeted for the rollout of the model, with the goal of adapting the model for practices of different sizes and configurations. The Institute will share best practices and lessons learned with other providers.

Together on Diabetes-NYC
    ARC XVI Fort Washington, Inc. ($15,000)
    Isabella Geriatric Center ($15,000)
    Riverstone Senior Life Services, Inc. ($15,000)
    YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood, Inc.  ($15,000)
    NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital  ($15,000)

To extend community organizations’ capacity to help senior clients better control their diabetes by making identification, engagement, and monitoring of clients with diabetes part of the organizations’ regular operations, and by further enhancing organizations’ diabetes-related activities; and to support programming to retrieve health care utilization data on participants for program evaluation purposes.
Since January 2011 the United Hospital Fund has partnered with community-based organizations, health care providers, and others in Washington Heights to test a community control model focused on seniors with diabetes. To date, more than 800 seniors have enrolled in the program, and education and support programs and practices have been established at four senior-serving community-based organizations The new grants will enhance the capacity of these four organizations to provide diabetes-related activities and embed the identification, engagement, and monitoring of clients who are seniors with diabetes as part of the organizations’ regular operations. The grant to NewYork-Presbyterian will support programming work to retrieve clinical data on each consenting participant for program evaluation.

These strategic grants are a part of the Fund’s program to support the development of model projects, sponsor research to analyze systemic problems, and foster innovative solutions.  Beneficiaries of the Fund’s grants include not-for-profit and public hospitals, nursing homes, and health care, academic, and public interest organizations.

About the United Hospital Fund: The United Hospital Fund is a health services research and philanthropic organization whose primary mission is to shape positive change in health care for the people of New York.

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