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Trenton Health Team Notes Improvements to City’s Medical Services

TRENTON – A team of health care providers established six years ago gave themselves a mostly positive review yesterday in their first report on the progress they’ve made to improve the distribution of health care services in the city.

Members of the Trenton Health Team said that thanks to their efforts far more residents of Trenton are getting medical attention, faster and by professionals who are more likely to be familiar with their medical backgrounds.

The Trenton Health Team, started in 2006 and formally incorporated in 2010, is an alliance comprised of the City of Trenton, Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center and the Henry J. Austin Health Center.

Since their inception, the THT has been focused on providing better care for the city’s economically struggling residents, spokeswoman Becky Taylor said.

Patient waiting times across the board have been reduced, the report said. Most notable was the reduction in wait time at Henry J. Austin, a group of three clinics. At the Austin centers, the average wait time went from 37 days to two.

St. Francis Medical Center managed to enable patients to meet far more often with physicians and other medical professionals with whom the patients had previously been in contact, thereby providing patients with better care, on the theory that a doctor who is more familiar with a patient will be more helpful, Taylor said.

Records management was also improved, she said.

In a release, Dr. Ruth Perry, executive director of the collaborative group, said the partners have been working for years “to address Trenton’s fragmented primary care system, under-utilization of clinics, and higher rates of illness compared with other areas across the state.”/p>

“We are taking very deliberate, concrete steps to overhaul a system that has failed Trenton’s vulnerable population while costing hundreds of millions of dollars each year.”

In the report, Perry said the THT has also made strides to reduce non-essential emergency room visits by establishing a team of physicians, case managers, nurses, and social workers who work to coordinate community care and educate the public about alternatives to visiting emergency rooms.

“Helping a person navigate through the system, visiting the home, and making sure appointments are made is how we are connecting people to the care they need,” Perry said.

The team is also actively engaging residents and making them more aware of diseases and how to be healthy. Since August, the team has helped the residents at Kingsbury Towers gain knowledge about diabetes.

The THT has also launched an information technology project that will allow providers to see fully updated patient information, allow for continuity of care, and provide patients with the appropriate follow-up procedures, Taylor said.

The THT is also taking steps to become a Medicaid Accountable Care Organization, which is a group of providers that leverage their combined efficiency to deliver effective medical services at a reduced cost.

About the Trenton Health Team
Trenton Health Team (THT) is an alliance of the city’s major providers of healthcare services including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the city’s Health Department. In collaboration with residents and the city’s active social services network, THT is developing an integrated healthcare delivery system to transform the city’s fragmented primary care system and restore health to the city. THT aims to make Trenton the healthiest city in the state. Support for the Trenton Health Team was provided in part by a grant from The Nicholson Foundation. For more information, visit