October 12, 2001

Alliance boosts Metro funding

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Dr. Harry R. Jacobson spoke at the news conference last week. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Alliance boosts Metro funding

Leaders from Nashville’s medical community, including Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, announced on Oct. 5 a new grant to reach the Nashville’s uninsured and underinsured.

Metropolitan Health Department’s “Bridges to Care,” a program to connect the area’s indigent to the 19 local hospitals, mental health centers, dental clinics, and alcohol and drug treatment centers that make up the Nashville Consortium of Safety Net Providers, was buttressed by a $1.1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It will help provide a “medical home” for the almost 50,000 people in the Nashville area.

“By building this bridge to the people who need care we are not only doing what is morally and fiscally responsible, we are helping improve the health of generations to come,” Jacobson told a crowd of area health providers and reporters at Metro’s Lentz Health Center.

Mayor Bill Purcell praised the “historic collaboration” of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance as a model of collaborative success that made the Bridges to Care program possible. “It has been clearly demonstrated that there will be improvement if we help together,” he said.

Dr. Stephanie Bailey, Metro Health Department director of health, said, Bridges to Care “would not be possible without the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance.”

Four piers support this bridge: linking 4,000 uninsured patients and their families to appropriate primary care facilities, such as the Cayce Family Health Center; increasing the number of presently insured patients who are screened for eligibility for TennCare and the Metro Indigent Care Fund; providing transportation and prescription medications for uninsured patients and family members enrolled in Bridges to Care; and instituting an aggressive, culturally sensitive information campaign for uninsured patients, especially for those with limited English-speaking skills, and for providers.

The Safety Net Providers will be linked electronically through an Internet-based patient referral and tracking system to help provide continuity, and care managers and a community outreach director will also be funded.