Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health have received a nearly $2.6 million grant for an innovative project that will address the social factors that affect the health of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in Harris County.
The Accountable Health Communities grant was awarded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
“What we are trying to do is bridge the gap between health and barriers due to social needs that impact health outcomes,” said Linda Highfield, Ph.D., principal investigator for the project and assistant professor in the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health at UTHealth School of Public Health.
According to data from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Harris County has one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation at more than double the national average. The county also has a poverty rate of more than 17 percent and is home to nearly 500,000 Medicare beneficiaries and 600,000 Medicaid beneficiaries.
The five-year project is a collaborative effort involving UTHealth School of Public Health, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, UT Physicians, Memorial Hermann–Texas Medical Center, Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital, Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, Harris Health System and multiple community organizations.
The Accountable Health Communities project will work to evaluate the social needs of Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries by utilizing an innovative screening tool that will be offered to patients when they seek medical care at any one of the partner clinical sites. Researchers will focus on identifying particular contributing factors that have a negative impact on health, such as food insecurity, housing instability, utilities, transportation or interpersonal violence.
The screening tool is an electronic questionnaire on a tablet that will survey the patient about their individual needs. The tablet will then provide a customized list of community resources to the beneficiaries who may be at high-risk for poor health outcomes.
A subset of the patients who are in need of services will be assigned to a Community Health Worker from the program who will connect them with local social service providers.
During the first phase of the project, starting in February of 2018, researchers have a goal of reaching 18,750 Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries. As the project progresses, researchers plan to reach 75,000 people a year in Harris County.
“Often, we are unaware of how people’s social needs affect their health, particularly if they are not disease-specific. However, an individual’s context and social needs can directly impact their health status and how they interact with the health care system. This project is looking at health care from a patient’s perspective,” Highfield said.
UTHealth co-investigators include Ryan Walsh, M.D., M.M.M., chief medical information officer of UTHealth and assistant professor at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics; Robert Morgan, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health; Cecilia Ganduglia Cazaban, M.D., Dr.P.H., assistant professor in the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health; and Kevin Hwang, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
Rosalia Guerrero-Luera, program manager for the Community Health Worker training program at the School of Public Health, will serve as project manager and support the research team. Technical support for the screening tool will be provided by the school’s Information Technology Department.
VA releases new findings on the connection between TBI and dementia https://t.co/BnNZzpxeTI via #VAntagePoint
Are you a father of children between the ages of 5 to 11 years? Our researchers needed you to complete an online survey for a study being conducted by the Children's Nutrition Research Center. Learn more: https://t.co/FbQCfrWeDD #research https://t.co/8HNP939Ad7
Keeping a #foodjournal can help you keep track of cravings, according to our dietitian, Erma Levy. Here are her tips for fighting cravings: https://t.co/U7kDnBFkux @FocusedonHealth #endcancer
Today's #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Forces Veteran Staff Sergeant Edwin W. Hays. Hays was shot down over Denmark during World War II, spending 15 months as a prisoner of war. https://t.co/LH3vWFOTJm
Why #oralcancer survivor @jeans4295 calls her MD Anderson social work counselor Djuana Fomby a “lifesaver”: https://t.co/QNuuL4EM1R #hncsm #endcancer
About half a million people will go to the hospital this year for issues related to kidney stones. Learn the symptoms and what you can do to help prevent them. https://t.co/M74pGKM9qK #kidneystones
CHI St. Luke's Health@CHI_StLukes
Today we're celebrating dads and the immense amount of love and wisdom they share. Happy #FathersDay from all of us at CHI St. Lukes Health! https://t.co/ASzquyJp67
TAMU Health Sciences@TAMHSC
To all the dads out there, have a #HappyFathersDay https://t.co/qwNadTO23b
Happy #FathersDay, especially to all who are Veterans or members of the military. https://t.co/75KB9j3O8V
RT @UTPhysicians: Raquel ignored the lump in her neck for years before getting it checked out at a free screening for oral, head and neck c…
Happy #FathersDay to all the dads in our community, as well as those celebrating or remembering theirs today. #endcancer https://t.co/um8LbAUjUp
RT @BCMHouston_News: Have you heard of White Coat Hypertension? @bcmhouston's @virani_md talked with @MelissaFox26 w/ @FOX26Houston earlier…
Happy Father’s Day from @TexasChildrens! What’s the best piece of advice your dad has given you? https://t.co/maFiEtnmOa
RT @astros: Stop by the @MethodistHosp Blood Drive today at Union Station and get an #Astros t-shirt! Details: https://t.co/LW8nX55mJ7
RT @BCM_Surgery: Farewell to our Thoracic Surgery Residents: Swami Gnanashanmugam, MD, @corinneaberle, MD, Duy Nguyen, MD and Kareem Ibrahi…