Community Health Plan of Washington announced that they are granting $750,000 to 15 Federally Qualified Community Health Centers (CHCs) in Washington. Each would receive $50,000 to fund projects aimed at removing barriers and increasing access to healthcare services across the State.
Locally, Sea Mar, which has both Aberdeen and Ocean Shores locations, and Valley View Health Center in Pacific County are among this funding.
Community Health Plan of Washington says that the funds are part of an Equity Learning Collaborative Grant Program designed to pilot approaches to care that are sustainable and address health disparities.
Leanne Berge, CEO of Community Health Plan of Washington, said that she hopes the pilot will spur new ideas elsewhere in communities.
Each CHC who is receiving funding applied for the grants to support the unique needs of its community, within the scope of health equity and whole-person care (physical, behavioral and Social Determinants of Health like housing, food and employment).
Each project fall within four categories of equitable care:
CHPW says that a key component of the health equity grant program is a peer-based learning collaborative in which participating community health centers meet in cohorts designed around the topic areas to share learnings and best practices over the course of a year.
“I’m inspired by the work being done through this program to develop targeted interventions that address the unique needs of each health center’s local community,” said Leanne Berge, CEO of Community Health Plan of Washington and Community Health Network of Washington. “We went through a rigorous process of creating a grant program that empowers each health center to assess its own community’s barriers to equitable health outcomes and to identify opportunities for impactful interventions, using techniques that can be deployed long after this pilot program ends.”
The 15 CHCs and their equity project focus areas are:
“According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, last year nearly 29% of homeless individuals in Washington State were identified as being severely mentally ill,” said Rhonda Hauff, President/CEO at Yakima Neighborhood Health Services. “With the money we are receiving from CHPW, our team plans to help our patients experiencing homelessness obtain a smartphone through government programs and teach them to use it to schedule appointments, access telehealth, communicate with providers, order prescription refills, and more. We believe this will increase follow-up appointment rates and get the individuals the support they need to treat and prevent mental health issues from escalating.”
“At Unity Care NW, we work with patients with many different backgrounds and who speak many languages,” said Jodi Joyce, CEO at Unity Care NW. “The inspiration for our equity project was the brainchild of one of our staff members who ran the front desk. She noted that those who need interpretation services had to book longer appointments and wait longer for these times. The grant funds that we receive from CHPW will help decrease wait times for these patients by providing better interpretation services.”
“HealthPoint’s mission is to strengthen communities, improve people’s health and break down barriers,” said Lisa Yohalem, CEO at HealthPoint. “Our work with CHPW and this funding is helping us listen to our Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community, patients and staff about how we can adjust our health care approaches to be a better partner in their overall health. We do our best work when we work in partnership with the community. This investment is focused on improving the health of the broader community; starting with the Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities in South King County.”
CHPW’s initiative is part of the work it is doing in a national cohort called the Advancing Health Equity: Leading Care, Payment, and Systems Transformation (AHE) program.
In partnership with the Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) and CHPW’s parent Community Health Network of Washington (CHNW), CHPW is part of one of the seven state teams leading this initiative. This learning collaborative is building a culture of equity by looking at changes in care delivery as one of its focus areas.
The funding for the Equity Learning Collaborative Grant Program brings CHPW’s investment in Washington’s community partners advancing equity work to a total of $1 million in 2021, following $250,000 in grants to 25 community-based organizations (CBOs) in June.
To learn more about CHPW and how it serves Washington’s communities, visit chpw.org.