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MeHAF Supports Efforts to Strengthen Safety Net for Uninsured People

MeHAF Supports Efforts to Strengthen Safety Net for Uninsured People

The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) has awarded $349,000 to six nonprofits across the state that will support the development of better strategies that can expand access to quality care (A2QC) for uninsured people. “Providing this support is central to MeHAF’s mission to promote access to quality health care, especially for uninsured and underserved people,” said Dr. Wendy Wolf, MeHAF’s President and CEO. “This initiative will promote collaborative approaches from an array of health care and social service organizations to ensure that uninsured people have access to more stable, continuous health care to promote better health. One of the goals of the program is to reduce the use of the emergency department for people who are uninsured by developing better coordination and use of primary care services.”

“Unfortunately, even after the health insurance reforms in the Affordable Care Act are fully implemented, there will still be a significant number of Maine people who will have difficulty getting or keeping health insurance,” noted Dr. Wolf. “Establishing and maintaining an ongoing relationship with a health care provider is much more challenging for low income people or those who lack health insurance.” The A2QC program recognizes that all patients can benefit from having a continuous relationship with a primary care provider to manage chronic conditions, support healthy life style choices and receive appropriate preventive services. Strengthening the health care safety net will be crucial to keeping all Maine people healthy.

One program will bring health care providers, social service organizations and consumers together to develop sustainable ways to address issues such as long delays in seeing a specialist and difficulty arranging transportation to visits. Another will work with community partners to plan the ‘scaling up’ of a model of coordinated physical and behavioral care services for uninsured patients identified as high users of hospital emergency department services. The model uses peer support and more intensive coordination of health services to reduce emergency department use and increase patient satisfaction. A key component of all of the programs will be including consumers and patients in developing solutions that meet the needs of all members of the community.

“The goal of the A2QC program is to strengthen and enhance Maine’s health care delivery system and safety net to make sure that people who will remain uninsured after health insurance reform, or who may go through extended periods without health insurance, have a regular source of health care that meets their needs,” said Charles Dwyer, the MeHAF Program Officer who is overseeing the Access to Quality Care grants.

The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) is Maine’s largest, private, nonprofit health care foundation dedicated to promoting access to quality health care, especially for those who are uninsured and underserved, and improving the health of everyone in Maine.  MeHAF uses its grant resources and expertise to identify and move forward key initiatives and issues to improve Maine’s health care system so people across every region of our state have access to quality care for better health.

MeHAF Access to Quality Care Grant Recipients:

Islands Community Medical Services, Inc., Vinalhaven: $50,000 planning grant to improve the continuity of care and patient experience for the vulnerable population of the islands especially during transitions of care.

MaineHealth, Portland: $98,825 grant to expand access to care to uninsured and underinsured adults in York County through the highly collaborative and sustainable CarePartners model that currently being used in Cumberland, Lincoln, Waldo and Kennebec Counties.

Mercy Hospital, Portland: $50,000 planning grant to expand and scale Mercy's "Medical Neighborhood" model which uses seamless data sharing and intensive care coordination to establish and maintain a medical home for uninsured and vulnerable patients.

Mid-Coast Health Net, Inc., Rockland: $50,000 planning grant to expand access and improve delivery of free and low-cost integrated care to uninsured and underinsured residents of Knox County. 

Penobscot Community Health Care, Bangor: $49,997 grant to lead a comprehensive planning process involving a coalition of 26 community and health care organizations to strengthen the health care safety net for uninsured residents of the greater Bangor area.

Portland Community Health Center, Portland: $50,000 planning grant to create a coordinated system of care model for uninsured low-income immigrants and asylum seekers residing in Cumberland County.

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