By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded $1.8 million in grants to seven organizations across the state from its Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island.
The winners, which were announced at the Foundation’s annual meeting on May 30, were chosen for their focus of enabling new access to primary care for patients without a regular source.
“One of the Foundation’s priorities is to help ensure that all Rhode Islanders have access to quality, affordable primary care,” Rhode Island Foundation President and CEO Neil D. Steinberg said in a statement.
“We are pleased to support these seven high-impact programs that will benefit thousands of people statewide by improving access and providing primary care in new, creative ways,” said Steinberg.
The seven grantees were Butler Hospital, East Bay Community Action Program, Miriam Hospital, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Rhode Island Free Clinic, Thundermist Health Center and Tri-Town Community Health Center.
The grants range from $100,000 to $375,000 over two or three years.
Butler Hospital will receive $352,510 to create two primary care units to facilitate cooperation with an interdisciplinary team of psychologists, family doctors as part of the facility’s Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care project.
The East Bay Community Action Program will receive a grant of $196,056 to support its Care, Access, Readiness & Evolution Initiative Program. The program “is the predominant safety net community health center provider serving 10 of the 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island,” according to the RIF release.
Providence-based Miriam Hospital will receive a $358,582 grant. The Women’s Medicine Collaborative at Miriam Hospital will pilot the Shared Medical Appointments Program to primary care patients and patients with chronic illnesses in need of frequent medical visits.
During shared medial appointments, 10 to 15 patients will meet with an interdisciplinary medial team for roughly 90 minutes, fostering discussion and the sharing of ideas.
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England will receive a $100,000 grant from RIF to support the Rhode Island Fund for Access, which offers preventative family planning care to low-income Rhode Islanders.
The Providence-based Rhode Island Free Clinic will receive $200,000 to expand primary care access and preventative health care to the uninsured, working poor and low income Rhode Islanders through its statewide physician’s network.
Addressing the new for walk-in services, extended hours and care for existing patients and community members, Thundermist Health Center will receive $375,000 from RIF to implement, support and evaluate Quick Care centers for emergency department usage.
Tri-Town Community Action will receive $217,852 to help build its Increased Access to Primary and Integrated Health Care Program. The program is designed to expand Tri-Town’s entire spectrum of services at its Johnston site to the recently purchased North Providence Community Center.
"The key to improving the health of all Rhode Islanders is building a robust, multi-disciplinary primary care delivery system that provides access at the hours people need care, in the places people need care, and with the services people need -- including mental health and substance abuse treatment," Dr. Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, said in a statement. "The Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island helps us build that delivery system with these grants."
The Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island was established in 2008 in the form of a $20 million endowment as part of a settlement between Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and R.I. U.S. attorney’s office.