In an area beset by urban health care quality and delivery issues, Camden area healthcare providers are turning ills into promising breakthroughs in care that are receiving national attention.

Recently, providers in Camden received federal grants to further their achievements in health care delivery and innovations. On Monday, August 13, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez along with Dr. Jaime Torres, Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health of Human Services, recognized recipients of these grants and honored the dedication of several Camden-based organizations committed to enhancing healthcare delivery to those who live in the area.

“It is often said, ‘If you can do it in Camden, you can do it anywhere,’” reflects U.S. Senator Menendez when discussing transforming healthcare in the urbanity of Camden. “But there is promise, as organizations take the reins and bring innovation to the way we care for patients. Statistics show that through new methods of healthcare delivery, we can keep people healthier and improve all aspects of their lives.”

Dr. Jaime Torres, the Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services throughout New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, said this: “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes the important work taking place in Camden to improve the health of the people of the city. That is why we provided grants to Project H.O.P.E. and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers for the important work they are doing, which can be a model to other cities in our nation.”

Two of the recent federal grants went to:

  • Project H.O.P.E., a Federally Qualified Health Center serving the primary and behavioral health needs of the homeless and at-risk populations in Greater Camden, received $4.8 million in funding from the new health reform law – the Affordable Care Act – as part of $18 million in grants nationwide for community health centers.  According to Patricia DeShields, the center’s C.E.O. and Executive Director, “Not only have we seen the demand for Project H.O.P.E.’s medical services grow each year with significant increases in patients and visits, but we have also seen the percentage of our patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma increase and exceed the prevalence rate for both Camden County and New Jersey.  Patients are sicker and the fact that we have maximized productivity at our current facility has presented an additional barrier to patient care.  This Federal Health and Human Services capital award will enable Project H.O.P.E. to provide more services to improve patient outcomes, and also improve service delivery and include best practice treatment models with adequate space.”
  • And, The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, in association with Cooper University Hospital, was awarded $2.8 million to better serve more than 1,200 patients with complex medical needs. “Patients in our city rely heavily on emergency rooms and hospital admissions for their care,” said Jeffrey Brenner, M.D., Director of the Urban Health Institute at Cooper and Executive Director of the Camden Coalition. “We have studied the trends of these patients who have chronic illness, many because of poor living conditions and stifled access to primary and follow-up care for illness. This intervention grant will use care management and care transition teams to work with these patients to reduce avoidable emergency room visits, inpatient hospital admissions and hospital readmissions, and improve their access to primary health care.”

“These programs are about bringing positive change to Camden,” said Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of the Cooper Foundation. “We all work hard to initiate programs that will have a lasting effect, and the most profound changes can come in the health and well being of this City through partnerships and collaborations.”

 

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