The Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) has awarded $300,000 to Mercy Hospital to expand access to quality health care for people in Greater Portland who are uninsured. Through a combination of approaches such as peer support, volunteer health coaching, and intensively coordinated social services, Mercy’s Medical Neighborhood program will deliver better care to an extremely vulnerable group- people who are chronically uninsured.
The award to Mercy was made as part of MeHAF’s “Access to Quality Care” grant initiative, launched in 2013. With this grant, MeHAF has funded ten projects totaling over $1 million in communities around the state to support the development of systems of care for people who are uninsured. The Access to Quality Care initiative is central to MeHAF’s mission of promoting access to quality health care, especially for uninsured and underserved people.
“People who have gone for long periods without health insurance, either because they lack financial resources, or don’t qualify for public insurance programs, face unique challenges in accessing health care and maintaining their health,” said Dr. Wendy Wolf, MeHAF’s President and CEO. “People with low incomes who are uninsured can benefit from establishing an ongoing relationship with a trusted doctor or other primary care provider. This kind of relationship supports better communication between provider and patient and more robust coordination of specialty care, including behavioral health services and other care. Our goal is to ensure that people experience better, more holistic care, leading to better outcomes for patients and the health care system.”
Charles Dwyer, the MeHAF Program Officer who is overseeing the Access to Quality Care program said, “Mercy’s Medical Neighborhood project weaves together a number of innovative approaches to shape the health care delivery system for consumers who are uninsured. These approaches include real time peer support and health care navigation, open access scheduling, and development of a volunteer health coach program based on a national model. Essential to the success of the project will be input from consumers. Their insights will help guide the implementation of the project. Our ultimate goal is to develop a flexible model that can be replicated in other communities to improve the quality of life and overall health of uninsured people.”
Access to Quality Care- November, 2014 grant recipient:
Mercy Hospital, Portland: $300,000 to implement the “Mercy Medical Neighborhood” project
Prior Access to Quality Care grants:
Franklin Memorial Hospital, Farmington
Health Access Network, Inc, Lincoln
HealthReach Community Health Centers, Bingham and Madison
Washington Hancock Community Agency
Islands Community Medical Services, Inc., Vinalhaven
Mercy Hospital, Portland
Mid-Coast Health Net, Inc., Rockland
Penobscot Community Health Care, Bangor
Portland Community Health Center, Portland
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