Fenway Launches Pilot Program to Reduce Avoidable ER and Hospital Use for LGBT Patients

LGBT Patients

Directed at LGBT Patients with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Challenges; Pilot made possible with $125K grant  

BOSTON—Reducing avoidable emergency room visits and hospitalizations has been an ongoing challenge for health care providers and payers, especially in vulnerable and at-risk communities. Now Fenway Health is launching a new pilot program to decrease avoidable Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations for treatment of behavioral health and substance use disorder by patients who are transgender or insured by MassHealth, the Medicaid program for Massachusetts.

The program is made possible with a $125,000 grant from the RCHN Community Health Foundation.

“As a leader in caring for LGBT people, we will apply our culturally affirming approach to help patients who are transgender or insured by MassHealth avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits for treatment of behavioral health or substance use disorder,” said Stephen L. Boswell, MD, FACP, President and CEO of Fenway Health. “This grant will help us reduce healthcare costs even as we improve the quality of care.”

The pilot will introduce walk-in access to behavioral health services, launch low-barrier Medication Assisted Treatment for those struggling with substance use disorder, provide tailored patient education and case management services, and create improved systems with community partners. Care management is modeled on Fenway Health’s successful program for treating people living with HIV. If the pilot succeeds in improving outcomes, Fenway plans to expand it across the organization.

“The interventions that are being piloted have the potential to transform not just service utilization, but health outcomes for participating patients,” said Feygele Jacobs, president and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation. “Our foundation is pleased to support Fenway Health’s innovative approach to improving systems of care and share lessons learned that can improve care for other high-risk, high-acuity communities.”

Serving nearly 30,000 patients across three sites in Boston, Fenway is one of five grantees in five states to receive $125,000 each to launch an innovative approach to improve community health. Other projects include initiatives to integrate primary care with mental health, substance use treatment, and social support services at ACCESS Community Health Network in Chicago, IL; improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables for those at risk for diabetes and other chronic illnesses at Idaho Primary Care Association in Boise, ID and Mariposa Community Health Center in Nogales, AZ; and identify and tackle housing triggers of asthma and other health conditions at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Since 1971, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population.  The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless; struggling with substance use; or living with HIV/AIDS.  In 2013, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts joined the Fenway Health family, allowing both organizations to improve delivery of care and services across the state and beyond.

The RCHN Community Health Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation established to support community health centers through strategic investment, outreach, education, and cutting-edge health policy research. The only foundation in the U.S. dedicated solely to community health centers, RCHN CHF builds on a long-standing commitment to providing accessible, high-quality, community-based healthcare services for underserved and medically vulnerable populations. 

[From a News Release]

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