CHRC's July 2015 Newsletter

July Newsletter


July 29, 2015  |  Issue No. 9

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Baltimore City Health Department promotes access to healthy food options 

The Baltimore City Health Department received a three-year grant from the CHRC to support its Baltimarket Healthy Stores Program, which aims to prevent childhood obesity through a multi-level, community-based program that transforms the retail food environment.  The program has three core elements: corner store, Youth Neighborhood Food Advocate, and grocery store-based nutrition education, and focuses on the following zip codes in West Baltimore: 21216, 21217, 21223, and 21229.   Goals of the grant program are:  increasing the availability and sales of healthy foods at 18 Baltimore food desert corner stores; promoting participation of Baltimore youth in afterschool and other programming to reduce obesity and promote purchase of healthy food; and increasing the likelihood of healthy food purchases in at least 3 grocery stores in the Baltimore food desert. 

The grant to the Baltimore City Health Department is one of three grants awarded by the CHRC to help reduce childhood obesity.  The other grants were awarded to the University of Maryland, Department of Pediatrics and the Somerset County Health Department.  

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CHRC presents update on ED diversion and behavioral health grants to Maryland Medicaid Advisory Committee

The Maryland Medicaid Advisory Committee invited the CHRC to present at its meeting on July 23.  This presentation described how CHRC grants are designed to support the fundamental goals of the Medicaid program in terms of expanding access for underserved communities, helping to improve health outcomes, and helping to reduce avoidable hospital costs.  The outcomes of four community-based intervention grants were highlighted in the presentation – two ED diversion programs, Health Care for the Homeless and HealthCare Access Maryland; and two behavioral health programs, Way Station and Mosaic Community Services.  The presentation also characterized CHRC grants in the larger context of health reform initiatives in Maryland, including helping to deliver services to the newly insured, supporting the implementation of the All-Payer Model, and promoting other population health improvement efforts.   

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Maryland implements federal grant to help promote Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

Maryland is one of 33 states to receive a five year, $9.7 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) to help promote the implementation of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model.  The project began August 1, 2014 and is being implemented by Behavioral Health System-Baltimore (BHSB) and the Mosaic Group.  Under the project, 14 health center organizations will participate, and technical assistance will be provided at 40 different sites.  The goals of the project are to encourage statewide implementation of the SBIRT model; help achieve long-term financial sustainability of the model; and help promote increased access to integrated behavioral health services in the community.  For more information about this project, please contact Bonnie Campbell, Maryland SBIRT Project Director at 410-637-1900 ext. 7790 or

The CHRC was invited to serve as a member of the SBIRT Policy Steering Committee, which is charged with reviewing project performance and progress; interfacing with policy-making bodies to help ensure the sustainability of SBIRT; and promoting the availability of behavioral health services for people identified as needing specialty care.  Promoting access to integrated behavioral health services is a goal of the CHRC.  The Commission has awarded 25 grants totaling $8 million to increase access to behavioral health services, and these grants have collectively served more than 17,000 Marylanders.  

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Access Carroll implements capacity-building grant and lays groundwork to achieve long-term program sustainability

Access Carroll, a non-profit, community-based provider based in Westminster, is implementing a one-year capacity-building grant from the CHRC as the organization transitions from its free clinic model that relies on revenue from grants to a more sustainable model that involves billing third-party payers for services delivered.  Access Carroll leveraged the CHRC grant to receive an additional grant from CareFirst and is utilizing grant funds to hire outside expert consultants to advise in billing, credentialing, claims submission, and revenue projection.  Grant funds will also support the salary costs of a full-time medical/administrative assistant who will be involved in claims submission. 

As part of its sustainability plan, Access Carroll worked with DHMH and others to receive a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) designation from the federal government; executed an innovative Interagency Care Agreement with the Carroll Health Department; and secured its Medicaid Provider Number, a critical first step towards generating fee-for-service revenue.

Promoting the long-term financial sustainability of safety net providers as Maryland implements the Affordable Care Act has been a priority of the CHRC in recent years.   In 2012, the CHRC developed a business plan with the assistance of the Mosaic Group that provided recommendations for technical assistance and support for safety net providers.  One of the key recommendations involved assisting safety net providers to transition from a grant-based revenue model to more sustainable revenue models, including billing third-party payers.  The CHRC has awarded a number of grants, including the grant to Access Carroll, to assist safety net providers in their efforts to achieve financial sustainability.  

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Healthy Allegany utilizes CHRC grant funds to begin community health worker program and develop community resource guide  

The Allegany County Health Planning Coalition recently completed a two-year Local Health Improvement Coalition (LHIC) grant with the CHRC.  Grant funds supported the goals of the Healthy Allegany program and facilitated the following population health improvement activities: deliver community health worker (CHW) services, improve provider engagement, strengthen the capacity of the Planning Coalition, and align community resources to address social determinants of health.   The grant awarded to Allegany County is one of 24 grants awarded by the CHRC to support the activities of Local Health Improvement Coalitions (LHICs). 

Under the Healthy Allegany grant, community health workers helped residents make lifestyle changes, follow their health care provider’s instructions, and connect to community resources.  Healthy Allegany CHWs worked closely with CHWs at the Western Maryland Health System (WMHS); the CHWs were trained together, used the same client tracking system, and shared information on local resources.  The Healthy Allegany and WMHS CHWs collectively made more than 3,000 client visits and more than 1,400 referrals to medical and social services over a two-year period. 

The CHRC grant also supported the development of the Healthy Allegany Community Resource GuideThis comprehensive guide includes information on local health resources, including behavioral health providers, dental services, and prescription assistance, as well as social services, including food assistance, legal aid, and transportation.  More than one hundred health care providers and community organizations received the guide and use it to refer clients for needed services.

For more information about the activities of the Healthy Allegany program, contact Jenelle Mayer at   Click here for a copy of the final LHIC grantee report submitted by Allegany County to the CHRC.    

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Behavioral Health Leadership Institute completes capacity-building grant and develops CHW Toolkit

The CHRC awarded a one-year grant to the Behavioral Health Leadership Institute  to help the organization develop a sustainability plan for its community health worker (CHW) model.  The Institute leveraged the CHRC grant to receive additional grants from the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation and the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund.  Grant funding was utilized by the Institute to develop a Community Health Worker Toolkit.  The Institute has requested that the Toolkit not be copied nor distributed, as it is a proprietary document.  If you are interested in purchasing the Toolkit, please contact Deborah Agus at

Grant funding was also utilized to facilitate the Institute’s conversations around workforce sustainability, integration, and reimbursement for the CHW model with Medicaid MCOs, Cigna, Value Options, and DHMH.   As part of these efforts, the Behavioral Health Leadership Institute served on the DHMH Workgroup on Workforce Development for Community Health Workers.  

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