A regional partnership of health care providers in Harford and Cecil counties, led by University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health and Union Hospital, has received a grant from the Health Services Cost Review Commission to transform the health and well-being of community members in proactive, efficient and innovative ways.
The grant is for $2.7 million during the fiscal year that starts July 1 and will extend over four years for a cumulative total of $9.2 million.
Specifically, the grant will be used to develop an outreach program called WATCH (Wellness Action Teams of Cecil, Harford) to work with Medicare patients who have two or more chronic conditions and/or have been hospitalized frequently.
The grant will create four teams of caregivers (a nurse, two community health workers and a social worker) to work with patients in their homes and in their community (beyond the walls of a hospital or doctor’s office) to optimize their health. The teams will also use technology to keep patients on track with appointments, medications and other health care needs.
Joining University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health and Union Hospital in the partnership are the Health Departments and Offices on Aging in Harford and Cecil counties; Healthy Harford and Healthy Cecil; Federally Qualified Health Centers in the two counties and CRISP, the state health information exchange. The proposal was part of a seven-month planning process that also included Amedisys Home Health, Lorien Health, Harford County EMS, Hart to Heart Transportation and Med Chi.
“The goal is to improve quality of life through support and care of our more vulnerable neighbors,” said Lyle E. Sheldon, FACHE, president/CEO of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. “Using available technology and a unified approach, we will provide a more efficient and proactive method to serving our community in need. Our regional partnership will work together to provide coordinated health care and social resources to Medicare patients who are at high risk for serious health complications.”
Technology is an important component of this new program. Patients and caregivers will have the opportunity to maintain contact through in-home telemonitoring and use improved communications tools such as care plans that are viewable by providers across the continuum of care.
“Providing the best possible care at the right time and in the right place is key to improving the health of our community,” said Dr. Richard C. Szumel, M.D., president/CEO of Union Hospital. “Working with our community partners in Cecil and Harford counties will help us develop and implement new approaches to the ever changing health care landscape.”
In spring 2015, UM Upper Chesapeake Health and Union Hospital were one of nine coalitions of health care providers across the state to receive funding from the Health Services Cost Review Commission to support new approaches to care by optimizing the health of residents, increasing the quality of care and reducing avoidable hospital utilization and costs.
About University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health
In December 2013, Upper Chesapeake Health became University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. It consists of the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and the Patricia D. and M. Scot Kaufman Cancer Center in Bel Air and the University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace. The leading health care system and largest private employer in Harford County, UM Upper Chesapeake Health offers a broad range of health care services, technology and facilities to the residents of northeastern Maryland. Visit www.umuch.org for more information.