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Grant seeks to improve health care for Utica–area refugees

By Eric Reinhardt


UTICA — The Neighborhood Center Inc. of Utica will use a grant of more than $500,000 to help improve the health care of the local refugee population in Oneida County.

The funding is among nearly $5 million in grants for 13 projects that the Syracuse–based Central New York Care Collaborative announced on July 2.

With the Neighborhood Center as the lead agency, the Utica–area initiative also involves the Mohawk Valley Health System, the Regional Primary Care Network, and the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. 

The project seeks to help reduce “unnecessary” hospital readmissions, increase access to primary care, and address the “social determinant” of health needs for individuals in the refugee and non-English-speaking community, Oneida County said in a news release. The county helped facilitate the collaboration among these organizations, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. said.

“We’re very excited to be able to support creative and innovative health-care services for the community,” Virginia Opipare, executive director of the Central New York Care Collaborative, said in the release. “To see this level of collaboration across Oneida County offering much-needed services for the refugee population is exactly why we developed the Innovation Fund. We are pleased to be able to offer this level of support to Oneida County.”

Additional grants

The funding awarded to the Neighborhood Center is part of the “Innovation Fund” that the CNY Care Collaborative established in 2017, the organization said in a separate news release.

The funding seeks to help improve the system of care for Medicaid and uninsured patients “by funding innovative projects that address physical and mental health needs and foster cross-sector collaboration” through the six-county region it serves. 

The other projects getting money included:

• AccessCNY / CIT Training Initiative — $250,000 

• ACR Health / complex care innovation program — $500,000 

• Cayuga Counseling Services / engagement and wellness enhancement project — $250,000 

• Compassionate Family Medicine / super utilizer intervention team — $372,875 

• ConnextCare (NOCHSI) / service integration and systematic care management — $499,223 

• Catholic Charities of Onondaga County / comprehensive services for the homeless and housing vulnerable — $250,000 

• CNY Health Home Network (CNYHHN) / family navigator model proposal — $248,887 

• St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center / healthy parenting through wrap-around mother-unborn child & mother-infant care and education — $249,843 

• St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center / mobile integrated service team — $499,932 

• St. Luke Health Services / Oswego County telemedicine collaborative — $246,000 

• Upstate University Hospital / heart failure transitional care pilot project — $672,723 

• Upstate University Hospital / targeting triggers for high risk asthmatics — $250,000

The “Innovation Fund” process began last November when organizations across the region were asked to submit letters of interest for participation in the fund. The CNY Care Collaborative selected 23 organizations to submit full proposals for funding consideration. 

The submitted proposals were scored and ranked by an independent evaluator based on “several considerations.” They included “innovativeness, compelling need, evidence-based solution, [and] collaboration with other organizations.” 

Opipare said, “These 13 projects will improve coordination and access to services across our region and truly exemplify our mission of building partnerships for the community.”

About the organization

The Central New York Care Collaborative is a partnership that connects more than 2,000 health-care and community-based service providers in six counties across Central New York, including Cayuga, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego.

The collaborative’s primary goal is to “serve the population by improving the coordination of health-care services, enhancing the quality of performance outcomes and creating an overall better system of care for patients.”

It is the lead organization of a “performing provider system” under New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program. DSRIP focuses on health-care system “transformation, where providers work to improve and coordinate community- based, primary-care, mental-health and preventive-care services.”                      

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