This OpEd by Trenton Health Team Executive Director Gregory Paulson published in NJSpotlight, a statewide online newspaper focused on public policy issues, calls on state policymakers to formally recognize and maintain funding for key Regional Health Hubs.

“Our healthcare system is fragmented. Hospitals and doctors try to provide the best care for patients; community organizations provide food, shelter, and social supports for clients. Residents try to support their families and neighbors. A lot of effort. Some success. Too often, frustration and failure.

How can we provide a better patient experience, improve outcomes, and reduce costs?

An innovative project to do just that is underway. Efforts begun in 2011 under New Jersey’s Medicaid ACO Demonstration Project have evolved into four regional partnerships that integrate, coordinate, and align disconnected programs aimed at making communities healthier. ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations) serve residents receiving healthcare coverage through Medicaid — those who often lack access to the resources needed to be, and stay, healthy.

Today, we call on policymakers to make health and well-being a priority as they finalize the state budget for fiscal year 2020. New Jersey’s regional partnerships — Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Healthy Greater Newark, Health Coalition of Passaic County, and Trenton Health Team — are making a real difference in the lives of low-income residents while reducing healthcare expenses for taxpayers. In fact, New Jersey is rapidly becoming a national model for how communities can come together to tackle our shared health challenges.

Legislators should build upon this success by formally recognizing our partnerships as regional health hubs and maintaining the existing $1.5 million appropriation. This would enable New Jersey to leverage a one-for-one federal funding match supporting streamlined healthcare in participating communities and provide models for other regions across the state….”

Read the full OpEd here