Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

News

Initiative aids homeless by cutting out panhandlers

Program offers way to donate on behalf of homeless, discourages giving to panhandlers

SALEM — Giving cash to panhandlers can leave those thinking they’re doing a good deed still questioning where their money is actually going. So city officials are offering a solution: Give them the money instead.

Through ongoing initiatives to work with the city’s homeless population, Salem officials just launched Change It, which seeks to direct those well-intentioned dollars instead to services that benefit the homeless. By sending a simple text message — SALEM to 50555 — residents or visitors can quickly make a $5 donation to benefit the services that feed, clothe and shelter this vulnerable population, and also work to turn their lives around.

And there’s an added benefit for the donor — any donation gets them a discount to several different city businesses, with more to be added to the list soon.

The program was put together by city administration, as well as North Shore Community Health Center, North Shore Community Action Programs, Lifebridge — which operates a shelter and other services for the homeless — and the Salem Police Department.

To read more click here…

Collaboration key to ending Salem’s homelessness

By William J. Dowd
wdowd@wickedlocal.com

Two distinct forms of homelessness exist in Salem: Transient homeless persons and chronically homeless persons.

The latter is a smaller group – while the former is larger and growing in Salem.

“The statistics are staggering,” said Police Capt. Conrad Prosniewski. “We have a homeless problem in Salem, and the number of calls is going up.”

From January to July 2016, Salem Police averaged 51 homelessness-related calls per month. Over the same seven months in 2017, they averaged 124 calls per month, a 143 percent increase.

Proniewski offered up those statistics before a standing-room-only crowd in an upper room of Derby Street’s St. Joseph’s Hall Thursday evening, July 27. The gathering, organized and facilitated by Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, engaged attendees in what Salem can do to collectively tackle a growing homelessness issue.

Officials also debuted “Collaborative For Hope,” a city-led coalition comprised of Salem social-service agencies from Lifebridge Salem and North Shore Career Center to North Shore Community Action Program and North Shore Community Health Center,– that aims to help empower the homeless population here to end their homelessness.

Click To Read More…

 

Salem To Hold Public Dialogue On Homelessness

The discussion is expected to cover strategies to keep people off the streets long term with housing and other services.

By Taylor Rapalyea, Patch Staff |

SALEM, MA – A public dialogue scheduled for late July takes aim at two major objectives: Discuss a strategy to assist Salem’s homeless population, and address some of the “nuisance-like behavior” of homeless individuals in and around the city, according to a press release.

The public dialogue will be on Thursday July 27, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at St. Joseph’s Hall at 160 Derby St. A statement from Mayor Kim Driscoll’s office said that Salem city and police officials, representatives from Lifebridge, North Shore Community Health Center, North Shore Community Action Program, and the regional Workforce Investment Board have been working on potential solutions for the growing transient homeless population.

Click here to read more…

Kennedy hears health care concerns Residents describe how Medicaid cuts, ACA repeal could impact Gloucester

Christine Malagrida, Chief Operating Officer of North Shore Community Health Center, takes Congressman Joseph Kennedy III on a tour of Gloucester Family Health Center

Gloucester resident Charlie Trasher says the Affordable Care Act has actually provided him with better care options in retirement than the plan he used for coverage while working four decades in the grocery business.

“It’s based on affordability, based on people’s income, and I know a lot of people need it to get any coverage,” Trasher, 62, told Congressman Joseph Kennedy III Friday. “How can they take that away?”

Trasher’s question to Kennedy, who serves on the House Energy & Commerce Committee that oversees federal health care reform, was just one of many posed by more than two dozen people who sat in on a 45-minute talk with the third-term congressman at the Gloucester Family Health Center on Washington Street.

The visit was part of Kennedy’s tours of four community health centers from Worcester to Taunton over the two days. The congressman, who represents Massachusetts’ 4th congressional district, listened diligently as local health officials and others pointed out the potential impact of a Republican-led repeal or stripping of provisions in the federal program known widely as “Obamacare.”

“It’s been inspiring to hear all of your words and see the world of community health centers,” Kennedy said, sitting in the middle of a circle that included, among others, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, D-Gloucester, North Shore Community Health Centers board chairman Jack Vondras, regional health centers Chief Operating Officer Christina Malagrida, and Angela Sanfilippo of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association and fishing partnership health care program.

“It’s also pretty troubling that the context in which I’m here is that some of my colleagues are preparing to gut Medicaid,” he said, referring to one of the prime funding targets of President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders.

Kennedy and Malagrida noted that the North Shore Community Health Centers — the umbrella agency for the Gloucester center, now in its ninth year — receives 40 percent of its revenue through Medicaid coverage of patient care.

“Without that, we could not hire the staff we need and wait for reimbursement,” Malagrida told Kennedy, a grandson of Robert F. Kennedy. “We need that money up front. We are barely surviving, and that’s under the current reimbursement rates.”

Vondras, who formerly served as the city of Gloucester’s heath director, painted a more dire picture.

“We would have to look at our sustainability (in the face of Medicaid and other Affordable Care Act cuts),” he said. “I’m not sure we could function.”

Concerns of coverage

Several of those addressing Kennedy raised concerns about potential cuts or a loss of coverage for victims of addiction and those who need coverage of mental health issues. That was also an issue raised the day before by the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative and its Gloucester-based board chairman, John Rosenthal. The group wrote letters to every member of Congress asking for continued support for projects such as the Gloucester police angel program, which steers addicts into treatment, but relies in part on an ACA provision mandating coverage for addiction patients.

Kennedy acknowledged that, and cited another category of coverage now threatened — coverage of pre-existing conditions. He noted that any changes to the Affordable Care Act’s mandated coverage of pre-existing conditions could impact coverage — a factor he said even some GOP lawmakers may not have considered.

“Once someone is in recovery, they are really in recovery for life,” Kennedy said. “Well, guess what that is — it’s a pre-existing condition.”

Romeo Theken and Ferrante — accompanied by her mother Frances, who is blind and battles other health issues — both cited a trickle-down effect that could come from a reduction or loss in coverage for addiction. Both noted that, if denied coverage for treatment, those caught in the grips of addiction would not enter treatment or seek help at community health centers, but go back to rushing to emergency rooms and create logjams for others needing acute care.

“Anything that is closed is going to impact every service we’ve all worked so hard to make a success for so many years,” said Romeo Theken, who worked in health care as Addison Gilbert Hospital’s community liaison before becoming mayor in 2015.

Asked whether he’s aware of a Republican alternative affordable care plan, Kennedy was blunt.

“There isn’t one, they have nothing,” he said. With that, he vowed to take the stories and concerns expressed here and at other community health center stops back to D.C., with words of encouragement for lawmakers to talk to patients in their own districts.

“We need to have some of the conservative members get out and listen to groups such as this,” he said. “Then let’s hear them look people like yourselves in the eye and say ‘I’m going to cut your budget.’ I’d ask them to go out and talk to patients in their own communities, see how this works — and hear what this will mean.”

For his part, Gloucester’s Trasher had another suggestion.

“Get people to stop calling it ‘Obamacare’,” he told Kennedy. “Call it for what it is, the Affordable Care Act — for good, affordable health care that people need.

“Call it anything,” he said. “Call it the Trump Plan, if that helps. That would be fine by me. But don’t take it away.”

Thank you letter from Congressman Joseph Kennedy III