United Hospital Fund Awards Grants Totaling $475,000 to Improve Health Services in New York City

Release Date: 10.28.2013
Contact: rdeluna@uhfnyc.org
Contact Phone: 212 494 0733

The United Hospital Fund today announced nine grants, totaling $475,000, for projects to improve health care services in New York. Among the projects funded are a new multi-partner quality improvement collaboration to reduce avoidable transfers from nursing homes to hospitals, a timely assessment of New York State’s health benefits exchange, the adoption of new technology to flag adverse events for patients with cancer, the application of telehealth by a new cohort of providers, and a community-based nutrition program, as well as four grants promoting health care voluntarism.

“As patient and family needs evolve, so does the health care system that serves them,” said Jim Tallon, president of the United Hospital Fund. “We have awarded these grants to organizations that have identified today’s needs, while envisioning and planning for tomorrow’s. The health care system of the near future—including hospitals, nursing homes, home care, and care in the community—needs to provide the right care at the right time in the right setting, and these grants reflect that. They also value the importance of getting people health insurance, providing the support patients and family caregivers often need to navigate the health care system, and making information and education available to help people keep themselves healthy.”

Details on the grants are included below.

Expanding Health Insurance Coverage
Fund for Public Health in New York / New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ($50,000)
To measure the effectiveness of the launch of New York State’s health benefit exchange in reaching uninsured persons and facilitating their connection to health care services.
To evaluate how the New York State of Health (New York’s health benefit exchange) is working, at least 800 individuals screened for eligibility for health insurance through the exchange will be surveyed at two points in time by facilitated enrollers. In addition to assessing early successes and challenges associated with implementing the exchange, the resulting report will assess respondents’ motivation to seek health insurance, previous barriers to health insurance enrollment, and access to care.

Improving Quality of Care
Greater New York Hospital Association ($135,000)
To enhance the quality improvement infrastructure that was collaboratively established by the United Hospital Fund and Greater New York Hospital Association in 2005, with annual grant support from the Fund.
Since 2005, when the United Hospital Fund and the Greater New York Hospital Association formed a partnership to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units, the organizations have undertaken a growing range of initiatives to improve the quality of care provided in hospitals in the New York metropolitan region. This grant will build upon their work to date, through the following activities:

  • Design and implementation of a hospital/nursing home collaborative to reduce avoidable transfers from nursing homes to hospitals. Participating hospitals will partner with one to three nursing homes, and together they will review and streamline current information flows, conduct site visits to gain better understanding of each other, review hospitalizations of nursing home residents, and measure and track improvements stemming from the implementation of new procedures.
  • Training of additional physician and nurse “champions” to lead quality improvement and patient safety efforts at hospitals by completing the fifth class and initiating the sixth of the Clinical Quality Fellowship Program.
  • Helping hospitals meet aggressive guidelines to adhere to new state sepsis protocols through continuing the work of the STOP Sepsis Collaborative—which, since its launch three years ago in emergency departments, has successfully reduced sepsis mortality and expanded throughout participating hospitals.
  • Addressing critical issues of advance care planning and care transitions across settings, through an ongoing palliative care collaborative.

    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center ($70,000)
    To develop a screening method to detect adverse events and potentially preventable harm in the care of cancer patients, providing the basis for new patient safety and quality improvement efforts.
    Improving the identification of adverse patient events helps clinicians better understand which patients may be at greatest risk for safety issues. Physicians and nurses will study the medical records of 300 cancer patients, looking for issues including adverse drug events, falls, infections, or radiation oncology and surgical complications. They will then compare their findings with those identified in existing reporting mechanisms to refine a screening tool, which will subsequently be made available to other hospitals and cancer research institutions.

    Redesigning Health Care Services
    City Harvest ($10,000)
    To provide nutrition and cooking courses at locations in Washington Heights for the diabetic seniors participating in the Fund’s Together on Diabetes-NYC program.
    Building on City Harvest’s successful initial integration into the Together on Diabetes-NYC program, the organization will conduct participatory cooking classes focused on getting the most nutrition on a limited budget; classes focused on the health benefits of produce and how to buy and prepare it; and classes on cooking, food safety, nutrition, and budgeting for low-income seniors. An interpreter will ensure the classes reach both English and Spanish speakers in the target audience.

    PHI ($70,000)
    To pilot test home care aides’ use of telehealth technology to improve patient care and enhance aides’ participation on the care team.
    PHI will coordinate a pilot and evaluation of the use of telehealth technology by home care aides working with three home care agencies—Jewish Home Lifecare, HHC Health and Home Care, and Independence Care System. The agencies will each pilot a unique telehealth device, which aides will use to share information on selected patients to help identify when changes in the care plan might be appropriate. The pilot will assess the clinical and financial value of each system and the ability of home care aides to observe and report data on a regular basis.

    Promoting Health Care Voluntarism
    Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center ($35,000)
    To add a volunteer component to a childhood obesity program for the hospital’s neighboring communities, including one in which over 40 percent of children are overweight or obese.
    As an adjunct to the hospital’s award-winning Live Light Live Right program, volunteers will provide support to pediatric patients and their families, and will assist with community education about the health risks of childhood obesity. Family education will include information about portion size and better food options, and guidance on how to read food labels.

    Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center ($35,000)
    To develop a volunteer program to support family caregivers of individuals with serious mental illness.
    For this new component of Lincoln’s Integrated Collaborative Care and Wellness Program, 15 volunteers will be recruited to facilitate family caregiver support groups and to serve as a resource for caregivers who are providing support to a family member with serious mental illness. The support groups will follow a peer-led model promoted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    Montefiore Medical Center ($35,000)
    To replicate a successful volunteer program that now provides family caregiver coaching and support.
    Using the Caregiver Support Center/Caregiver Coach model that it created in 2010 at its Moses campus (with support from a United Hospital Fund grant), Montefiore will replicate the program at its Weiler campus.  The program provides comprehensive assistance to family caregivers. The Weiler program will focus particularly on caregivers of cancer patients and parents of NICU patients. Materials with which the volunteer caregiver coaches will be trained include those developed by the Fund and available on its Next Step in Care website.

    St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children ($35,000)
    To enhance a volunteer-led patient navigation program to help families overcome barriers to health care and related services for children with medically complex conditions.
    Helping parents of children with medically complex conditions, 14 volunteers who have experience with navigating the health care system for such children will be recruited to be volunteer guides. Accompanying parents to appropriate social services agencies, they will assist with a range of tasks, including obtaining affordable housing, health insurance, child care for other family members, and translation services. The program will also work with parents to develop their self-advocacy skills.

    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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