City Health Works' community health worker model awarded $2 million grant
Harlem-based community health worker network City Health Works is set to enter the next phase of its transition to a full-fledged provider service.
The not-for-profit organization said Tuesday it has received a $2 million charitable grant to expand its reach throughout New York City.
Started in 2012, the organization employs community members to serve as health coaches providing individualized support to patients struggling to manage chronic health conditions. Coaches also work with healthcare professionals and alert them to any social factors that are impeding a patient's progress toward meeting their care goals.
City Health Works mostly works in East Harlem and serves about 400 patients with conditions such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension and congestive heart failure. In addition to helping patients, health coaches collect data, analyze cases and generate reports for clinicians and social service agencies.
"The daily realities of living with chronic conditions take place at home, not the doctor's office," said Manmeet Kaur, founder and executive director of City Health Works. "If we can reduce the barriers to finding the right healthcare solutions for patients, then we can redefine what it requires for individuals to attain better health and significantly improve our system."
The CHW model has attracted the interest of a number of New York City health systems in recent years. That has led to collaborations with large health systems like Mount Sinai to use CHW community care coordinators to reduce hospital utilization costs associated with their clients.
Last July, City Health Works began a one-year pilot project with Mount Sinai's St. Luke Hospital to decrease 30-day readmissions among their heart failure Medicaid patients upon discharge, and preliminary results should be released by the fall.
The $2 million grant was awarded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Kaur said the money will be invested in the organization's core operations as it prepares to take on more clients by next year. The organization is expected to scale up its main service area beyond Harlem to areas of Brooklyn and the Bronx as the organization transitions from being funded mostly through philanthropic sources to taking on more paid contracts.
Kaur said the organization is currently developing a method to license its approach and make it available for providers throughout the country, with CHW providing technical support of its software platforms.
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