The Maine Health Access Foundation has announced grants for 2008 totaling $5.2 million to improve the quality and delivery of health care in Maine.
Awards to 17 health care, public health and other organizations will be used to coordinate and improve primary care, specialty care and mental health services at clinics, hospitals, counseling centers and other sites throughout the state.
“We know that our health care system is not well-structured to meet the full needs of many patients, and most dramatically those who are uninsured or low-income,” said MeHAF Chief Executive Officer Dr. Wendy Wolf in making the announcement. The grants for 2008 focus on bridging health care gaps for patients who receive care in more than one setting, such as medical practices, counseling centers, hospitals and other places.
Grantees in the Bangor Daily News readership area include:
• The Acadia Hospital in Bangor, $325,000, to expand mental health and substance abuse services. Primary care providers in the Bangor region will undergo training and support to care for some patients in the primary care office setting, allowing more coordinated and comprehensive health care.
• Aroostook Mental Health Services in Caribou, $325,000, to create a “medical home” for patients that emphasizes the prevention of mental and physical illness. The funding will also pay for a referral coordinator charged with ensuring that patients receive all necessary and appropriate care.
• The Regional Medical Center at Lubec, $60,000, to coordinate mental health, substance abuse and primary care services throughout Washington County. The project includes a focus on pain management and the integration of mainstream medical care with complementary approaches such as massage and fitness training.
• Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor, $325,000, to coordinate a full spectrum of health care, dental, mental health and substance abuse services with city of Bangor public housing and social service programs.
• Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, $40,000, to incorporate substance abuse treatment, primary care and mental health services into the medical residency training program.
• Rosscare Nursing Home in Bangor, $297,000 to provide mental health services to geriatric patients in nursing homes and other long-term care settings.
Statewide projects include funding for cognitive testing of Maine National Guard troops before and after deployment to help identify cases of traumatic brain injury; the collection of data about the mental health of Maine children; an evaluation of health services available to migrant workers in Maine; and funding for the nonprofit Quality Counts program to measure and improve the quality and consistency of health care delivered in medical practices around the state.
The Maine Health Access Foundation is the state’s largest health care philanthropy. It was established in 1999 using the approximately $82 million in proceeds from the sale of Maine’s nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance programs to for-profit Anthem Insurance. Each year, the organization awards about $5 million to study and improve health care in Maine.