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  • New York University, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service Evaluating Consumer and Provider Effects of FAIR Health Online Shopping Tool Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $296,775

    More and more New Yorkers are enrolled in health insurance plans that have high deductibles, significant cost-sharing provisions, and narrow or closed networks. As a result, it is imperative that consumers have the right information to understand and compare their health care options. Despite the need for better information, consumers continue to face a lack of health care price transparency tools. In 2015, NYSHealth awarded a grant to FAIR Health, which oversees the nation’s largest private claims database, to create a consumer tool with pricing information that would help consumers compare providers. The tool, NY HOST, will launch in two phases: a physician charge phase in September 2017 and a hospital charge phase in February 2018 that will offer pricing information for hospitals in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, and Westchester. To evaluate the tool’s impact on consumer behavior, provider charges, and the health care market, NYSHealth awarded a grant in 2017 to New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (NYU).

  • Health Career Connection, Inc. Health Career Connection Internship Program, Class of 2017 Priority Area: Other $39,000

    Health Career Connection, Inc., (HCC) is a national nonprofit organization that provides undergraduate students from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds with internship placements at health care and public health organizations. The participants recruited by HCC are commonly first-generation college students from low-income families and communities. In 2014, NYSHealth awarded HCC a grant to match students with internship placements at organizations that fit their interests, including at the Foundation. The resulting experience was exceptional for both the students and hosting organizations, which led NYSHealth to award HCC additional grants in 2015 and 2016. To continue support for this initiative, NYSHealth awarded HCC a grant in 2017.

  • Foundation for Quality Care, Inc. Mouth Care Without a Battle: Improving Oral Health Care for Older Adults in Nursing Homes Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $255,568

    Poor oral health—which is linked to pneumonia and can lead to hospitalization, intensive care, or death—is a rising issue for elderly people living in nursing homes. In particular, nursing home residents with dementia experience limited quality and frequency of oral health care because nursing home staff often feel that they are not adequately prepared to manage difficult behaviors that typically arise during care of these patients. Mouth Care Without a Battle (MCWB) is an evidence-based approach to daily mouth care (e.g., tooth brushing, flossing, care of the gums, and denture care) for people with cognitive and physical impairments. Combining best practices in dementia care and oral hygiene, the pilot program has shown improvements in health and overall quality of life for this population. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Foundation for Quality Care (FQC) a grant to scale up MCWB so as to improve oral health care for nursing home patients with dementia.

  • Independence Care System Empowering Health Care Consumers Conference Scholarship Priority Area: Building Healthy Communities $4,000

    A key goal of NYSHealth’s empowering health care consumers priority area is to ensure that people have the tools, resources, and support they need to make informed decisions about their health care. As the only statewide health foundation in New York, NYSHealth can play a leadership role in building the field of leaders and changemakers working across the State to empower health care consumers. For organizations already engaged in this work, attending conferences and other convenings provides an opportunity to share their successes and lessons learned. Conference attendance can also encourage new actors to enter the field and incorporate consumer empowerment into their work. Yet, because of a lack of resources, many are often unable to attend. Through its Sponsoring Conference Participation Related to Empowering Health Care Consumers Request for Proposals, NYSHealth is sponsoring nonprofit or low-resourced organizations to attend or present at local, State, and national conferences related to empowering health care consumers. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Independence Care System (ICS) a grant to participate in this initiative.

  • Healthy Capital District Initiative Empowering Health Care Consumers Conference Scholarship Priority Area: Empowering Health Care Consumers $1,535

    A key goal of NYSHealth’s empowering health care consumers priority area is to ensure that people have the tools, resources, and support they need to make informed decisions about their health care. As the only statewide health foundation in New York, NYSHealth can play a leadership role in building the field of leaders and changemakers working across the State to empower health care consumers. For organizations already engaged in this work, attending conferences and other convenings provides an opportunity to share their successes and lessons learned. Conference attendance can also encourage new actors to enter the field and incorporate consumer empowerment into their work. Yet, because of a lack of resources, many are often unable to attend. Through its Sponsoring Conference Participation Related to Empowering Health Care Consumers Request for Proposals, NYSHealth is sponsoring nonprofit or low-resourced organizations to attend or present at local, State, and national conferences related to empowering health care consumers. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Independence Care System (ICS) a grant to participate in this initiative.

  • Asian American Federation of New York Planning Grant: Addressing Asian American Mental Health Needs in New York City Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $75,000

    Mental illness is among the leading contributors of disease burden for New Yorkers, and the burden may be even more pronounced among Asian-American communities. In New York City, Asian Americans are the only racial group for which suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of death. However, Asian Americans are less likely to seek and receive mental health care because of cultural stigma, insurance limits, and a dearth of culturally and linguistically competent service providers. Given the current trends, there is a need to develop strategies to reduce stigma and other barriers to mental health services, increase awareness of the mental health needs of pan-Asian residents in New York City, and foster greater collaboration between formal service systems and community resources to reach these residents. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Asian American Federation of New York (AAF) a planning grant to identify and raise awareness of mental health issues affecting the New York City pan-Asian community and barriers associated with seeking and receiving care.

  • Be More America Breaking Bias in Health Care Priority Area: Special Projects Fund $150,000

    Unconscious biases are ingrained habits of thought that lead to errors in how people perceive, reason, and make decisions when interacting with others from different social, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. In the health care setting, unconscious bias can affect a provider’s line of questioning and lead to misdiagnosis; it can also affect body language and other subtle cues that cause patients to lose trust, withhold information, or fail to follow medical advice. To address the impact of unconscious bias on health care, Be More America created a series of in-person training workshops designed to reduce physician bias in medical decision-making. Based on the success of the in-person workshops, it then developed a prototype online training program. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded a grant to Be More America to scale up this work by deploying the online training program at New York City-based hospitals.

  • Randall’s Island Park Alliance Improving Health and Wellness in East Harlem and the South Bronx Through Programming at Randall’s Island Park Priority Area: Building Healthy Communities $174,603

    Randall’s Island lies directly between East Harlem and the South Bronx—two communities that are well above the citywide mean for instances of obesity, diabetes, and asthma. Both communities also fall below the citywide mean for regular physical activity, as well as below the New Yorkers for Parks’ recommendation that residents of these communities take advantage of Randall’s Island Park, citing its sports fields, pathways, and free community programming as amenities. Although community members have a strong interest in the park, there are still perceived barriers that keep them from accessing it. In response to community feedback, Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA) created its first public programs department and has seen an increase in the park’s usage. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded RIPA a grant to expand its free community programming, with an emphasis on increasing physical activity and nutrition education opportunities to engage residents of East Harlem and the South Bronx.

  • RAND Corporation Measuring the Impact that Repealing the Affordable Care Act Will Have on Veterans’ Insurance Coverage and Use of Health Care Priority Area: Veterans' Health $25,000

    Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not directly affect veterans’ eligibility to enroll in or receive care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), it may have led some uninsured veterans to choose to enroll in VA health care to obtain qualifying coverage and avoid individual mandate penalties. Other uninsured low-income veterans (including some who were previously enrolled to receive VA health care or expected to use VA health care in the future) may have qualified for subsidies to purchase coverage through insurance marketplaces or lived in states that opted to expand Medicaid. These individuals may have transitioned out of the VA health care system and into the community setting to receive some or all of their care. Given the new administration’s strong interest in repealing the ACA, it is imperative to understand the impact that ACA repeal will have on veterans and the VA health care system. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded RAND Corporation a grant to conduct a study on how veterans and the VA will be impacted directly by repeal of the ACA.

  • Headstrong Project Expanding Community-based Mental Health Services for Veterans Outside of New York City Priority Area: Veterans' Health $50,000

    More veterans are returning home with serious mental health issues and suicide rates are increasing among these returning service members. However, an ongoing shortage of VA mental health providers who are able to meet the increasing demand for behavioral health care has caused veterans to experience significant wait times for appointments. Additionally, a recent survey found that only 13% of civilian mental health providers meet the readiness criteria to provide culturally competent care to veterans. To meet these service gaps, the Headstrong Project (Headstrong) developed a fully integrated behavioral health care program for veterans in need of mental health treatment, which has been particularly successful in New York City. The program quickly connects veterans to culturally competent clinicians who then develop a treatment program specifically tailored to their needs and goals—at no cost to the veterans. Given its success in New York City, NYSHealth awarded Headstrong a grant in 2017 to expand its program to other regions of New York State where veterans are concentrated and in need of mental health services.

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