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The REACH Healthcare Foundation awarded Care Connector grants totaling $399,000 to support use of care coordinators, community health workers and other types of connectors to help uninsured and medically underserved individuals secure health services. The grants are tied to the foundation’s Strong Safety Net outcome area, and are designed to close the gap between consumer health needs and health care.
Nine organizations were awarded 12-month grants to allow them to build on work undertaken in 2018 to provide connector and wrap-around services that link clients to health, mental health and oral health care. The organizations were funded in 2018 through a request for proposal that focused on homeless youth and adults, immigrants and refugees, migrant workers and young people transitioning out of foster care. Each of the grantee organizations has direct experience with these population groups and their particular health challenges and works within a cross-section of the foundation’s six-county service area.
“The role of care connectors is to serve as liaisons for patients and health care systems and health care teams,” said Carla Gibson, senior program officer at REACH. “In these roles, care connectors, community health workers, case managers and promotoras help to bridge language, literacy and cultural and other life experiences and perspectives so that consumers can learn how to navigate and access systems of care.”
Along with funding, the foundation supports a learning and evaluation network for the cohort to reflect on and refine their practices, and learn from the other organizations. Gibson said the learning network started in 2018 and will continue in 2019.
Health care connectors are one of four strategies within the foundation’s Strong Safety Net investment area. REACH awarded $342,438 in Care Connector grants in 2018. The following organizations received a second year of funding for 2019:
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, $45,000
Support for care coordination for rural, low-income residents
El Centro, Inc., $45,000
Health navigation services for Latinx, Spanish-speaking, immigrant individuals who are uninsured or underinsured
KidsTLC, Inc., $40,000
Health navigation services for children and families, including a focus on Spanish-speaking families in Johnson County, KS
Health Care Coalition of Lafayette County, $45,000
Support for community health workers to improve access to primary health care and address social determinants for patients who are uninsured or underinsured
Migrant Farmworkers Assistance Fund, $45,000
Care coordination services for migrant and year-round farmworkers in Lafayette County, Mo.
Jewish Vocational Service, $45,000
Care coordination services for refugees and immigrants
ReDiscover, Inc., $40,000
Care coordination and engagement services for mentally ill individuals discharging from the Kansas City Assessment and Triage Facility
reStart, Inc., $44,000
Support to connect homeless clients with medical needs to providers and services
Synergy Services, Inc., $45,000
Care coordination and navigation services for homeless youth and young children