Reading Hospital has been chosen as one of 14 organizations across the country to receive a federal grant from a program designed to improve community health.
The $180,000 grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials will be used as part of the Improving Social Determinants of Health: Getting Further Faster Year 2 program, hospital officials said in a press release Thursday.
Social determinants of health are defined as conditions and health outcomes impacted by the places people live, learn, work and play. This includes housing, education, literacy, income, transportation, and access to healthy and nutritious foods.
In 2021, the hospital received a $50,000 grant from the same program.
The Community Connection team at Reading Hospital has since completed more than 138,525 screenings and has addressed 53% of the social needs identified for patients in the community navigation program, officials said.
The team has created 11,944 referrals to local community-based organizations with services to address or resolve patients’ social needs. For example, a patient with $8,000 in rent and utility debt was referred to Berks Coalition to End Homelessness. After applying for services there, the patient received enough funds to cover her debt and secure an additional month of rent, officials said.
“What is so special about Reading Hospital receiving this grant is that organizations had to be invited to apply to receive funding,” said Desha Dickson, associate vice president, community wellness. “The grant funds utilized in 2021 demonstrated the success of our program. We are fortunate that additional funding will help the Community Connection team continue to provide access to the vital resources that lead to such positive results for our patients.”
The program engages community members and incorporates their feedback into the hospital’s strategies, provides additional training and development for team members to enhance patient care, and continues to build community capacity through community-based organization partnerships, officials said.
Tanieka Mason, senior manager social determinants of health and analytics, community wellness at Reading Hospital, said: “This important grant will enable the Community Connection Project team to participate in an in-depth evaluation of our work. This will further strengthen the sustainability of addressing SDOH (social determinants of health), improving health outcomes, advancing health equity through screening patients and fostering community-clinical linkages.”
Source: Berkshire mont