Trenton NJ — Trenton Health Team ACO is proud to announce grants totaling about $145,000 to seven community-based nonprofits helping Trenton residents address complex health concerns ranging from long-term effects of trauma to bed bugs.

“Trenton Health Team’s vision for our city includes access to healthy food, housing and quality healthcare,” said Gregory Paulson, executive director of Trenton Health Team. “These grants reflect innovative thinking and support new ways of tackling Trenton’s health challenges.”

Trenton Health Team is designated an Accountable Care Organization for Medicaid, a state-federal program funding health care for low-income patients. As an ACO, Trenton Health Team is expected to evaluate how care management, care coordination and other community-based services could best be delivered to high-risk, high-cost medical patients, recognizing the goal of Medicaid stretches beyond just medical services to integrate social services.

The Community Health Improvement Project grants will help local agencies increase access to healthcare, improve health and meet social needs, as well as measure outcomes to learn how best to sustain benefits. These grants are designed to encourage innovations that will transform Medicaid to better meet the full range of health challenges facing patients.

Grant recipients and projects include:

Arm in Arm – expand hunger prevention programs to serve more people in their homes and at convenient times in accessible locations, providing frail elderly with fresh fruit and vegetables through a partnership with Mercer County Meals on Wheels and offering a mobile food pantry to meet needs of underserved families and seniors.

Helping Arms, Inc. – hire a health educator/navigator to help residents at Escher SRO gain life skills such as meal preparation, sanitation and personal hygiene, as well as learn about nutrition and healthy choices. This transitional and permanent housing building serves homeless/formerly homeless single individuals, most of whom have special needs.

Henry J. Austin Health Center – provide transportation for Trenton residents requiring it for healthcare visits when they are unable to secure other services. In a recent HJAHC survey, 26% of patients reported difficulty keeping appointments due to transportation challenges.

Isles, Inc.– provide healthy homes assessments to identify and address health and safety issues in the home in order to improve asthma control and reduce emergency department visits. Unsafe and unhealthy housing conditions in Trenton neighborhoods generate serious issues for occupants, such as asthma, allergies, lead poisoning, bed bugs and other risks such as tobacco smoke.

Medina Community Clinic – improve access to specialty care physicians for Medicaid patients in Trenton by providing free consultations using an innovative telehealth platform. Access to specialty care services, especially among Medicaid beneficiaries, has long been viewed as a significant barrier to timely and appropriate medical care, often leading to complications, extended hospitalization, and poor health outcomes.

The Rescue Mission of Trenton – designate a case manager to assist clients with no reportable income to apply for their General Assistance benefits. The case manager will work directly with those clients identified during intake, provide transportation to Mercer County Board of Social Services so that they can be assessed for Immediate Need and continue to provide support as they obtain the necessary identification and supporting documentation.

UIH Family Partners – train staff to expand understanding of trauma and its long-term effects to better support self-sufficiency among clients, generally men relying on General Assistance benefits, and host weekly sessions for clients encouraging healing and personal growth. Providing caregivers with a deeper, more empathic understanding of client experiences can strengthen relationships and increase trust which, in turn, improves outcomes.

“We are proud to support these worthwhile projects,” Paulson added. “We applaud their creativity and look forward to sharing their success stories.”