The Diocese of Springfield’s Annual Catholic Appeal grant program has awarded Mercy Medical Center $16,000 to help address underserved patients’ social influencers of health, including food insecurity and lack of stable housing.
With Diocesan support, Mercy has established a social care support fund to meet the needs of patients in its Healthcare for the Homeless Program and other vulnerable patients, especially those who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare.
“Mercy Medical Center has shown an unwavering commitment to providing high-quality healthcare and social care to Springfield’s most vulnerable residents and we are deeply grateful to the Diocese of Springfield for its generous support of our mission; to be a compassionate and transforming healing presence in the community,” said Geoffrey Hoyt, Chief Development Officer, Mercy Medical Center. “This new resource is invaluable, as it allows Mercy to meet its patients’ pressing social needs when no other community assistance is available to them.”
For nearly three decades, Mercy’s Healthcare for the Homeless program has worked to identify homeless people living in Western Massachusetts, assess their needs, deliver health and social services, and evaluate the impact of those services. The Healthcare for the Homeless clinic addresses the medical needs of between 2,000 to 3,000 homeless patients each year and the program’s community health workers assess these patients’ social care needs and work with community-based organizations to find available resources for them.
Separate from its Healthcare for the Homeless program, Mercy’s Department of Community Health and Well Being’s community health workers screen approximately 800 patients who are dually enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare for social influencers of health each year and connect them with available resources. This patient population tends to have chronic, uncontrolled medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbated by poor living conditions and unmet social care needs. They are at high risk of returning to the hospital.
“The Diocese of Springfield’s support makes it possible for Mercy to better leverage its existing grant resources and assistance from community partners to have an even greater impact on the health and well- being of Springfield’s most underserved and vulnerable residents,” said Mary Stuart, Regional Director of Community Health and Well Being, Mercy Medical Center.
Community health workers at Mercy are using the new social care support fund to provide clinic patients, dually enrolled patients, and patients who are becoming housing ready with needed items (food, clothing, transportation, household items, medication) when those needs cannot be met by the hospital’s community partners.
“Donors to the Annual Catholic Appeal are living the mission of our faith when they support the campaign,” said Kathleen Harrington, Manager, Annual Catholic Appeal, Diocese of Springfield. “This grant reaches the very people Jesus Christ has asked us to love and serve in a manner that can transform lives.”