UMB Gains State Funds To Care For Underserved

March 31, 2017    |  

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has been awarded more than $1.5 million in two grants from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (MCHRC) to expand access to health care to underserved residents and address health disparities in Prince George’s and Cecil counties.

The awards, announced March 30, are part of 17 grants totaling $4.1 million to expand access to underserved areas, to reduce health disparities, and to help reduce avoidable hospital visits.

A grant of $1.2 million will be administered by UMB to expand access to primary and preventative care services in Prince George’s County. The grant will allow for an innovative, patient-centered team-based model of care to serve patients without primary care providers (PCP) and those hardest hit by health disparities. The goal is to expand access and continuity of care for Medicare, Medicaid, and newly insured patients discharged from Prince George’s Hospital Center (PGHC).

The proposed service aims to decrease avoidable readmissions and make it easier for people to see a primary care provider. One way in which UMB will fill the gap in primary care is to expand the Cheverly Health and Wellness Center operated by the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP).

In another way, the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON)-managed Governor’s Wellmobile will provide its mobile nurse-managed interprofessional services.

The UMB Call/Telehealth Center will support and follow patients through the care process to ensure optimal engagement. The team-based care model will expand services for up to 3,800 patients and will increase the number of patients matched to PCPs.

Overall, the integrated services of the Wellmobile, the UMB Call/Telehealth Center, and the Cheverly Health and Wellness Center, with support of the PGHC, will deliver a team-based care model designed to meet patients’ needs where they are.

“The funding received from MCHRC expands and links the UMB interprofessional team-based model [pharmacists, nurse practitioners, social workers, and lawyers] to serve high-utilizers and hard-to-reach Medicaid/Medicare adult patients in Prince George’s County,” said Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, professor and UMSOP dean and executive director of University Regional Partnerships at UMB. “This new clinic will provide access to primary, preventative care, and chronic disease management services and will reduce avoidable emergency department visits and hospital readmissions.”

In addition to the $1.2 million grant, the MCHRC awarded a grant of $325,000 to the West Cecil Health Center (WCHC) to be used to implement an expanded dental program in Cecil County, another underserved area of the state, through an innovative partnership involving the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD). Under a cooperative agreement, WCHC has agreed to take over operations of the dental school's clinic in Perryville, which will maintain its status as a clinical teaching site with five predoctoral students and four dental hygiene students.

“This innovative, new partnership will enable the University of Maryland School of Dentistry’s faculty and students to continue offering much-needed, high-quality oral health care for the community,” said Mark A. Reynolds, DDS, PhD, UMSOD dean and professor. “I am delighted that the School of Dentistry is part of a collaboration that will provide continued access to dental care in this highly valued community.”

Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of UMSON, said the nursing school was extremely pleased to learn that the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission has awarded funding that will expand services and improve access to care in Prince George’s County.”

“By leveraging the team-based resources of the UMB Governor’s Wellmobile, we will meet patients’ health care needs after they leave the hospital and link them to primary care providers in the community for their ongoing care,” she continued. “The innovative model approved by the MCHRC will close gaps in care for vulnerable patients and help them access community resources. It is a critical step in keeping the residents of Prince Georges County healthy and reducing readmissions to the hospital.”

Competition for the grants was steep, as the MCHRC received 77 proposals requesting $48.9 million.