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Nonprofits receive $270,000 to improve health care services
By Chris Barnett / May 4, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

The Rhode Island Foundation awards five nonprofits more than $270,000 in grants for everything from providing medical care to uninsured women to reducing the frequency of emergency room visits.

“Developing an inclusive primary care system that promotes healthy lives is one of our core strategic initiatives. These grants will advance our continuing efforts to make quality health care more accessible and affordable,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

The Foundation awarded the grants through its RIGHA Foundation Fund, which was created after Harvard Pilgrim Health Care acquired the former Rhode Island Group Health Association. In 2010, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the RIGHA Foundation transferred its $1.6 million endowment to the Rhode Island Foundation. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care continues to make annual contributions to the fund, which promotes the development of an effective primary health care system in the state.

“Philanthropic support can provide the seed funding necessary to take innovative programs like these to the next level. Our goal is to reduce the cost of delivering high quality primary health care to Rhode Islanders,” said Karen Voci, president of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.

Sandra Powell, an associate director of health at the Rhode Island Department of Health, praised the grantees for their work ensuring health care is accessible to all Rhode Islanders.

“The bold, innovative proposals laid out by these five recipients will make vital contributions to our work to build a healthier state by getting quality health services and care into every community in Rhode Island,” said Powell.

Clinica Esperanza was awarded $50,000 to support its “Bridging the Gap” program, which aims to improve the health of uninsured, low-income, limited-English speaking patients who have diabetes, hypertension or other chronic diseases.

“Our goals are to engage them in comprehensive, long-term care and facilitate their later transition to insured care. We believe this will benefit the long-term health of our patients and reduce the cost of care once they qualify for coverage under HealthSource RI,” said Annie DeGroot, medical director.

Crossroads Rhode Island received $70,000 to support its Mental Health Navigation and Housing Stability project, which is targeted to homeless adults transitioning to permanent housing.

The project will serve an estimated 40 extremely low-income, homeless adults who live in housing units owned or managed by Crossroads. The participants have a wide range of physical and mental health challenges.

“The crucial first step is to help residents navigate the behavioral health system as they transition to permanent housing. Helping clients access and remain engaged with services will enable them to stay housed and healthy,” said Karen Santilli, president and CEO.

The Rhode Island Free Clinic received $25,000 grant to launch the Healthcare for Hispanic Women program. The clinic will hire a bilingual medical assistant, which will enable it to serve an estimated 600 uninsured, low-income, Hispanic women who are not eligible for coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act and cannot afford health care through HealthSource RI.

“Our goal is to provide these women with access to quality, affordable, culturally-competent and linguistically-sensitive health care services,” said Marie Ghazal, CEO.

South County Hospital Health Care received $64,347 to work with the Washington County Behavioral Health Collaborative, The Providence Center and Butler Hospital to reduce the number behavioral health-related visits to emergency rooms at South County Hospital and Westerly Hospital.

“An estimated one in seven South County Hospital emergency room patients has a behavioral health diagnosis. Treating behavioral health concerns as chronic diseases rather than as an occasional crisis will improve outcomes for patients. We are privileged to be working with our partners on the Collaborative to better serve those in our community with behavioral health needs.” said Lou Giancola, president and CEO of South County Hospital Health Care.

Thundermist Health Center was awarded $61,875 to hire a pharmacist to provide chronic disease management, medication assessment and adjustment and advanced patient education. The pharmacist is expected to see 125 unique patients a year, with over 475 annual pharmacy education and medication management visits.

The pharmacist will take on complex patients with multiple chronic conditions to ensure proper medication management and to ease the burden on primary care providers.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to add a pharmacist to our clinical team. Research shows that engaging a pharmacist in patient education and care improves health outcomes, including decreasing sick days and increasing testing rates, and generates higher quality adjusted-life-years with lower costs,” said Jeanne LaChance, interim president and CEO.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2016, the Foundation awarded a record $45 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.
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