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Grants go to improve health in Jackson County

MEDFORD, Ore. — Families facing medical emergencies or finding roadblocks to care can suffer when there is a lack of communication. Gaps in health care can result in lost wages, family stress and long-term poor health. But when health providers, health plans and members work together to solve problems, everyone wins.

That is the goal behind $1.5 million in grants awarded by Jackson Care Connect to local health care and social services agencies this month.

“These projects are innovative, well planned and will work to change important parts of our system of care in Jackson County,” said Anne Alftine, MD, Director of Clinical Integration at Jackson Care Connect. “If we are going to improve health care significantly we need to create a space for new ways of doing things in our community.”

The 10 grant awards range from $95,000 to $250,000. Each will support programs for Medicaid members and their health providers as they identify needed care, improve the way care is provided and work together across health services within Jackson County. Nine of the projects have already begun and one grant award is pending finalization.

“We believe investing in new ideas will help people,” said Alftine. “It is how we are working to ensure there is positive change on behalf of members and providers alike. We all want the system to improve.”

Jackson Care Connect, a nonprofit Coordinated Care Organization helping Oregon Health Plan members in Jackson County, has directed this funding to achieve three important goals: improve the way people move from hospitalization to outside care; improve the way care providers work together; and improve access to specialty care.

The local governing board of directors, clinical advisory panel and community advisory council of Jackson Care Connect selected the projects to receive funding based on the likelihood of improving the health of the entire community.

“We have worked very closely with JCC members and providers to find the best investments that can help people in need,” said Jennifer Lind, MPH, Chief Executive Officer of Jackson Care Connect. “The grants will fund programs lasting between 12 and 24 months.”

“The type of results we expect from the funded programs are pretty exciting,” added Alftine.

Three grants will support staff to coordinate care for patients leaving the hospital with services or providers they will need outside of the hospital. “Navigating between multiple providers can often be quite complex for families during a time of hospitalization and discharge, causing poor outcomes like recurring illness and readmission. We want to prevent this from happening,” said Alftine.

Funding will also support home visits by emergency room technicians to provide health management education to families and individuals who often overuse the emergency room for non-life-threatening conditions. “Our hope is that with this training, people can learn how to better manage routine illness with good primary care that can meet their ongoing health needs,” said Alftine.

With each grant award, according to Alftine, Jackson Care Connect has sought shared solutions to common problems faced by hospitals, providers, community health agencies and members in achieving the highest level of health possible.

Changes made through the grants are expected to help all residents of the county, not just Jackson Care Connect members. “We see these new ideas as a win-win for everyone,” said Alftine.

“JCC will watch and review these programs and continue to invest in those that contribute to better care experiences for patients, better health outcomes for our members, and help keep the cost of care affordable,” said Lind.

In three focus areas, grants were given to:

Transitions to Care

  • Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, $150,000 over 18 months—to provide coordination for patients with complex health problems between hospitalization and primary care using a care transitions team, nursing, pharmacy and social services.
  • Providence Medford Medical Center, $250,010 over two years—to help patients improve their experience and outcomes after hospitalization by coordinating between skilled nursing facilities, home health and care providers.
  • Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, $49,541 over 12 months—to reduce unneeded Emergency Department visits by supporting members’ connections to their primary care provider and other services they need.

 

Innovative Coordination

  • OnTrack, $139,521 over two years—to direct substance abusers into recovery instead of the court system through a joint project of Ashland Police Department and Asante Ashland Community Hospital.
  • Providence Medford Medical Center and Mercy Flights, $220,485 over one year—for home visits by local emergency medical technicians to help high users of the emergency room learn medication management and connect to health care and community-based programs, home environment safety assistance and behavioral health support.
  • Family Nurturing Center, $150,000 over two years—to help families bond and create long-term change in parenting skills while learning to grow, shop for, prepare and preserve healthy, economical food.
  • Nonprofit Legal Aid, $95,000 over one year—to expand medical care coordination and legal services for Jackson Care Connect members who need legal guardianship.

 

Expanded Access to Specialty Care

  • La Clinica, $150,000 over two years—to provide advanced primary care training and coordination with specialty services to improve access for those most in need.
  • Addictions Recovery Center, $150,000 over two years—to increase phone access and provider coordination so that it is available the moment a person makes the decision to recover.
  • Rogue Community Health, $250,000 over two years—This grant, which is provisional until additional data are provided by the agency, will provide additional dental health services for Jackson County residents and school children in the Eagle Point School District.

For information about Jackson Care Connect, contact Jeanie Lunsford, Senior Communications Manager, 503-416-3626, lunsfordj@careoregon.org.

For information about this story, contact Julie Raefield, Communications Consultant, 541-380-1154, raefieldg@gmail.com.





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