CHRC's June Newsletter

June 2015 Newsletter


June 29, 2015  |  Issue No. 8

Calvert County Health Department presents testimony to Governor’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force

The Calvert County Health Department received a three-year grant from the CHRC to support the “Healthy Beginnings” program, which targets substance-using expectant mothers and provides one-stop access to multiple health and social support services.  The grant to Calvert County is one of 16 grants totaling $3.3 million awarded by the CHRC in support of the state’s initiative to help reduce infant mortality rates.

The Calvert “Healthy Beginnings” program provides, under one roof, access to substance and mental health counseling, social services, information about continuing education and vocational training, health insurance enrollment, smoking cessation tailored towards pregnancy and postpartum, WIC services, postpartum contraception, and access to transportation when needed.  After its first year, the program has served nearly 50 women and achieved the following outcomes: 65% of women have attended at least 7 prenatal appointments; 87% have delivered babies that are of normal weight, and only 17% of babies required neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions.  A single NICU admission could trigger as much as $500,000 in hospital expenses alone.  The Calvert Health Department reported out on the Healthy Beginnings program to the Governor’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force earlier this spring.  

Calvert County HD
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Mosaic Community Services opens new Steven S. Sharfstein, M.D. integrated health center in Baltimore

Mosaic Community Services held a ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this spring to open the new Steven S. Sharfstein, M.D. integrated care center on North Charles Street.

Mosaic, the state’s largest community-based behavioral health services provider, is currently implementing a two-year grant from the CHRC that promotes Mosaic’s ongoing efforts to deliver integrated behavioral health services in the community and supports a partnership between Mosaic and Baltimore Medical Systems (BMS).  Under the grant, Mosaic will hire three behavioral health interventionists who will work closely with BMS primary care providers.  Clients served by Mosaic and BMS will receive SBIRT screening and access to integrated behavioral health and somatic services at both Mosaic and BMS care delivery sites.  As part of the grant, Mosaic is receiving training from Cherokee Health Systems, a nationally recognized expert in community-oriented integrated care delivery, in ways to best incorporate brief behavioral health interventions directly into busy primary care practices.  Mosaic is also working with DHMH to create new codes, rates, and processes for billing brief behavioral health interventions that occur as part of a primary care visit to ensure these interventions are financially sustainable after the CHRC grant funds are expended.  The Mosaic program is expected to have an impact in a number of core measures targeted in the State Health Improvement Process (SHIP), including individuals who are at healthy weight; life expectancy; and ED visit rates for hypertension, diabetes, mental health, and addiction-related conditions. 

The grant to Mosaic is one of four grants awarded last year by the CHRC to promote access to integrated behavioral health services in the community.  Since its inception, the CHRC has awarded a total of 25 grants totaling $8 million that have increased access to mental health and/or substance use treatment services and/or promoted the delivery of integrated behavioral health services in the community.  These programs have delivered 90,000 encounters to more than 17,000 patients.

Mosaic logo
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Access to Wholistic & Productive Living utilizes CHRC grant to leverage more than $500,000 in additional funds

Access to Wholistic and Productive Living Institute, a non-profit community based organization, has received three grants totaling $350,000 from the CHRC to support the “Bright Beginnings” program, which provides intensive, home-visiting outreach serving at-risk women and families in Prince George’s County.  The program has served more than 300 women and works to assure earlier access to prenatal care services for expectant mothers; reduce the percentage of babies born with low birth weight; reduce infant mortality rates; and link mothers and children/babies to primary care providers.

In addition to helping improve birth outcomes and reduce infant mortality rates, Access to Wholistic & Productive Living utilized CHRC grant funding to leverage more than $500,000 in additional funding, including a $447,612 grant from CareFirst, $49,980 grant from the DHMH Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities; and $50,000 grant from the Morehouse School of Medicine to test the efficacy of integrating community health workers in maternal care coordination programs.  Promoting program sustainability after initial CHRC ‘seed funding’ is a top priority of the Commission.  CHRC grantees have utilized Commission grant funding to leverage $16.9 million in additional federal, private/non-profit, and local support.

Access to Wholistic
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West Cecil’s Beacon Health Center recognized by Harford County Council

Earlier this year, West Cecil Health Center, a federally qualified health center, opened the new Beacon Health Center, the first FQHC site in Harford County.  This new health center is supported with a three-year start-up grant from the CHRC, ongoing operational support from the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, and capital support from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. 

The Beacon Health Center is one of several promising community-hospital partnerships supported by the CHRC.   Earlier this year, the CHRC released the white paper “Sustaining Community-Hospital Partnerships to Improve Population Health.”  These types of partnerships will become increasingly important as Maryland implements its new All-Payer Model, which alters hospital financing payment mechanisms to incentivize efforts to improve population health and reduce avoidable hospital costs.

Since it opened in early December 2014, the Beacon Health Center has served a total of 1,123 patients with 2,766 patient encounters and received a proclamation on June 9, 2015 from the Harford County Council.  In addition to supporting the Beacon Health Center, the CHRC has awarded 11 grants totaling $3 million in Harford County, supporting efforts to improve birth outcomes, increase access to oral health services, expand access to behavioral health/support suicide prevention efforts, deliver school-based health care services, and link uninsured/low-income residents to primary health care services in the community.   

beacon health center
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