United Health Foundation today donated $300,000 to help Partnership for Strong Communities (PSC) expand the Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative, coordinating a network of Community Care Teams (CCTs) in five additional Connecticut hospitals by the end of 2017.
The grant supports the Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative, which works to connect people experiencing homelessness who are frequent users of hospital emergency departments with housing and other services. An early study by the Initiative showed that 40 percent of frequent visitors to emergency departments are homeless or struggle with housing insecurity. Though homelessness in Connecticut has decreased in recent years, in 2015 there were nearly 11,000 people struggling with homelessness throughout the state, according to the Connecticut Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS).
The Initiative assists in coordinating CCTs, which are teams of health care, housing and social service providers who work together to identify people with complex health and social issues who frequently use hospital emergency departments in order to access primary health care services. CCTs connect people to housing and other much-needed services, help care providers create flexible and individualized care plans for clients, and enhance ownership of patient care by hospital staff.
The Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative, led by PSC and the Connecticut Hospital Association, began in 2014 with four CCTs operating in five hospitals across the state. A core component of the expansion will include establishing a Learning Collaborative with key partners to share best practices, developing online resources, and a qualitative and quantitative program analysis.
Terri DiPietro, a CCT member at Middlesex Hospital, sees firsthand the difference they are making in their community. “All of us, from hospital staff and housing providers to mental health professionals, are able to coordinate and make sure a patient is getting services and not falling through the cracks of the system. By meeting regularly to discuss cases and communicating vital health data in a timely manner, we can work together to make sure a client has everything he or she needs to recover.”
The grant announcement was made during the final forum in PSC’s annual IForum series, sponsored by United Health Foundation. The final forum brought together approximately 150 community leaders, including Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, homeless advocates and health care professionals to discuss innovative ways to increase access to care.
“Through the work of so many community-based organizations and partners like United Health Foundation, we are working to bring more care and support to people who need it most,” said Gov. Malloy. “We’ve set high goals to end homelessness, and it is through programs and partnerships like this that we are delivering real progress.”
“Stable housing is a key component to reducing the number of emergency department visits, because without a safe, secure home to go to after hospitalization or treatment, people cannot recover and get back on their feet,” said Alicia Woodsby, executive director, Partnership for Strong Communities. “This initiative, supported through the generosity of partners like United Health Foundation, will provide valuable resources to expand the reach of CCTs and improve the care for our most vulnerable populations.”
“Expanding this program with the help of the Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative will help provide care for the thousands of men and women throughout Connecticut who are struggling with homelessness and health care,” said Tina Brown-Stevenson, United Health Foundation board member. “United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support area hospitals and the networks of people and services throughout Connecticut who are helping to care for our most vulnerable.”
Pictured (left to right): Tina Brown-Stevenson, United Health Foundation Board Member; Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy; Alicia Woodsby, Executive Director, Partnership for Strong Communities; Steve Farrell, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of New England; Terri DiPietro, CCT member, Director, Outpatient Behavioral Health at Middlesex Hospital
(Photo: Alan Grant)
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy speaks during a forum on homelessness where United Health Foundation announced a $300,000 grant to Partnership for Strong Communities to expand the Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative which works to connect people experiencing homelessness who are frequent users of hospital emergency departments with housing and other services.
(Photo: Alan Grant)