Using funding from recent settlements through its healthcare division, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office last week distributed $3 million in grants to organizations addressing social determinants of health.
“As a state and as a country, we continue to spend most of our health care dollars treating people who are already sick, rather than investing to keep people healthy,” said AG Maura Healey. “These grants will support new partnerships to improve nutrition, housing, and other social determinants to protect the health of every Massachusetts resident.”
Thirteen initiatives across the state were funded, including these involving MHA members:
Cambridge Health Alliance in partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank, Good Measures LLC, Tufts Health Plan, and the Institute for Community Health will operate a free monthly mobile food market in Revere. The coalition will also organize regular health fairs to provide health screenings, vaccinations, information, and assistance with enrollment in social services, along with evaluating the impact of improving access to healthy produce on health and well-being.
Health Care Without Walls, in partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will aim to reduce health disparities and healthcare costs for homeless pregnant and postpartum women and their babies by providing intensive care management. A field team will work to build longstanding personal relationships in the outpatient setting.
Health Law Advocates, in partnership with Boston Medical Center Health System, will support a new site in New Bedford for Health Law Advocates’ Mental Health Advocacy Program, which provides free legal assistance for low-income children who need access to mental health care.
LUK Crisis Center Inc., in partnership with UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, will support families as they cope with addiction through family-centered approaches that address prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery from substance use and opioid addiction.
Baystate Health Care Alliance/BeHealthy Partnership ACO, in partnership with Community Legal Aid, will launch the BeHealthy Medical-Legal Partnership. The combined effort of these organizations will aim to improve the health and well-being of Hampden County low-income residents by adding legal assistance and advocacy to the range of services offered by five community health centers in Springfield: Caring Health Center, Baystate Brightwood Health Center, Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center, Baystate High Street Health Center Pediatrics, and Baystate High Street Health Center Adult Medicine.
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, in partnership with the Community Healthlink Inc., Duffy Health Center, and Mercy Healthcare for the Homeless Program, will address chronic homelessness and the impact it has on the healthcare system. The grant will help community health workers engage with long-term homeless individuals who frequently use emergency healthcare and behavioral services in order to help them move toward permanent supportive housing and change how they use healthcare services.