Trinity Health recently announced programs that will result in the investment of about $80 million in grants, loans, community match dollars and services for a number of communities over the next five years as collaborating partners work together to improve community health and well-being.
Funding the work of community partners, Trinity Health’s new corporate grant program will focus specifically on policy, systems and environmental changes that reduce tobacco use and obesity, which are leading drivers of preventable chronic diseases and health care costs in the United States. Additionally, Trinity Health’s new Community Health Coordinator programs, supported by AmeriCorps, will help tackle a significant driver of health care costs by providing support services to address the root causes of poor health for those who are most vulnerable in Trinity Health communities, and especially the poor.
“The collaborations we are enabling through these new programs align with the work of a people-centered health system and will be very meaningful to the people and communities we serve,” said Bechara Choucair, M.D., senior vice president for Safety Net and Community Health. “After all, health doesn’t begin in a doctor’s office; health begins in our homes, schools and neighborhoods. Through these programs and our community partners, we will meet people in these settings first — so we can keep them out of the hospital in the future.”
Grants to transform the community
The request for proposals from Trinity Health regions, systems and hospitals under the “Transforming Communities” initiative, defines appropriate multi-sector partners for these funded community collaborations. Partners can include community groups, businesses, social service agencies, schools and others. The expectation is that the collaboration will leverage system, hospital and community expertise, funding and other resources to improve community health.
The inaugural Transforming Communities grants will provide six collaborative community partnerships with:
- Up to $500,000 each per year, for up to five years, to develop detailed, community-specific plans to address childhood obesity, healthy living and smoking (phase one)
- Technical, planning and investment assistance (ongoing)
- Learning opportunities that will support program expansion in future years
In phase two of the program, low-interest investment loans supporting interventions related to social determinants of health will be made to Community Development Financial Institutions within the communities served by Trinity Health hospitals. They will be used to address specific issues including access to food, housing circumstances and early childhood issues.
AmeriCorps members as navigators
In an element of the strategy supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency which administers the AmeriCorps program, 50 AmeriCorps members will be trained and strategically engaged as Community Health Coordinators. In these roles, they will provide health care navigation services to at-risk populations and individuals who may be high-risk, significantly underserved or who are frequent health care service users. Other participating organizations are:
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
- ChangeLab Solutions
- Georgia Health Policy Center
- IFF (formerly known as Illinois Facilities Fund)
- The Public Good Projects
- The Reinvestment Fund
They will work with Trinity Health’s identified awardees to help specifically:
- Reduce rates of smoking
- Reduce youth obesity rates
- Improve access to nutrition and physical activity opportunities
- Achieve better health, better care, and lower costs for high-cost, complex patients, especially vulnerable populations and the poor
- Reduce health disparities
- Enhance community wellness and resiliency
- Increase program sustainability by optimizing partnerships and leveraging local match dollars
“This program will help us advance health and quality of life by addressing the root causes of poor health,” said Choucair. “It represents a transformation in the way we will reach people in our communities, but for those who are impacted by the program, it will mean so much more.”
About Trinity Health
Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 21 states with 88 hospitals, 126 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. With annual operating revenues of about $15.8 billion and assets of about $21.8 billion, the organization returns almost $1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 99,000 people, including 3,900 employed physicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country’s aging population.