Boston-based Tufts Health Plan has parceled out $300,000 to four community groups in an attempt to knock down barriers to healthcare for the city's senior-citizen population.
The 900,000-enrollee HMO, based in Waltham, Mass., mobilized the money after a community needs assessment turned up problems such as transportation gaps, cultural obstacles and poor communications with medical professionals, according to Chief Executive Officer Harris Berman, M.D.
The grants, ranging from $52,200 to $103,300, will support:
* A project to provide medical escorts, a comprehensive transportation guide and workshops on healthcare information and patient rights, to be conducted at elder housing facilities.
* A collaboration by community healthcare outlets, the city housing authority and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to survey 350 seniors who are isolated and provide follow-up services. The initiative also will offer transportation services and develop a senior health resources guide.
* A 10-part cable television series designed to help seniors gain better access to and satisfaction with the healthcare system. The series will be filmed with live audiences at senior citizen housing developments in Boston.
* Visits to socially isolated, low-income senior citizens by nursing students, who will provide health education and disease prevention services.