Dignity Health—St. Mary Medical Center has received a two-year $500,000 grant from the UniHealth Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic organization which supports and facilitates activities to significantly improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities within its service area.
The grant will be used for the Healthlink Project, in partnership with Mental Health America (MHA) Los Angeles, to identify the most vulnerable emergency department (ED) patients and provide them with comprehensive case management services, housing resources, and emergency financial support.
The Healthlink team includes a case manager and a licensed clinical social worker, who will connect patients to community resources and treatment interventions. The goal is to assist ED patients struggling with mental illness; unstable housing; one or more chronic medical conditions; and/or lack a primary care provider, or insurance, according to the announcement.
“The HealthLink Project will have a tremendous impact on St. Mary Medical Center’s ability to provide comprehensive services by recognizing and addressing the needs of our patients who suffer from mental health disorders and homelessness,” Pamela Fair, RN, director of critical care and emergency services, said in a statement. “We also anticipate that it will help reduce our ER utilizations.”
According to a recent statement from the City of Long Beach, the homeless population has declined by 21 percent over the past year due to the expansion of permanent housing options, innovative outreach methods, and coordination between the city and community members. The Healthlink Project seeks to further help with this effort.
“Basically what this means is that 100 percent of these funds will stay only in our community here in Long Beach and serve the homeless and indigent population with assisted housing, mental and physical healthcare, and case management services that will also assist with financial needs as well,” Lysa Barry, spokesperson for Dignity Health, said in an email.