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Health Foundation for Western and Central New York awards grant to new 'Get Well/Stay Well' program

by jmaloni

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Wed, Feb 5th 2014 08:00 pm

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has been awarded a two-year, $156,000 grant by the Health Foundation for Central and Western New York to support "Get Well/Stay Well," an innovative program to serve Niagara County seniors.

The program, which will begin July 1, will be offered at the Summit Family Health Center and operate in collaboration with The Dale Association, a well-known provider of mental health and elderly services in Niagara.

"Too many seniors unfortunately go without the services they need to get well and stay well," said Memorial Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sheila K. Kee. "This program will remove obstacles to care by making it convenient for them to address all their physical and behavioral health and social needs in a single location."

"Seniors suffering from isolation and depression often fall through the cracks," said Health Foundation President Ann F. Monroe. "We are pleased to be able to support a project like 'Get Well/Stay Well' that will help address the multiple issues confronted by seniors living in our community, and get them the care they need in order to stay physically and mentally healthy."

"Health care research shows that service integration produces many positive benefits for older adults," Memorial President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said. "Niagara Falls Memorial is grateful for the Health Foundation for Central and Western New York's support for this important program."

Kee said "Get Well/Stay Well" will take a patient-centered whole person approach to provide seniors with care and support that integrates primary care with mental health counseling and senior support services at the Summit site.

"Seniors will get the tools and information they need to stay healthy and well," Kee said.

According to a study published by researchers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of older adults with major psychiatric illnesses in 2030 will be more than double that seen in 2000. Mental illnesses among older adults are associated with functional disability, cognitive impairment, compromised quality of life, increased health care utilization and costs, barriers to preventive care and poor health outcomes. However, mental illnesses among older adults are often unrecognized, untreated, or undertreated.

Nonetheless, few seniors connect to mental health services to address those issues.

Judi Nolan Powell, a member of the medical center's board of directors and the chair of Memorial's cardiac stroke campaign, said "Get Well/Stay Well" also addresses another critical community need.

" 'Get Well/Stay Well' not only epitomizes Memorial's transformation toward health care management for the underserved in our market, but it is the best route for reaching our large elderly population who are most at risk for cardiac disease and stroke," she said.

Funding for "Get Well/Stay Well" includes a previously announced $500,000 grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health. Initial staff training for "Get Well/Stay Well" will be provided by the nationally recognized University of Washington AIMS Center. Housed within the Division of Integrated Care & Public Health, the AIMS Center is an interdisciplinary group of clinicians and scientists dedicated to improving the health of populations by advancing effective, integrated behavioral health care.

"AIMS Center experts will instruct Memorial's physicians, residents and staff on best practices for delivering integrated care," Kee said. "This is a tremendous opportunity for us to improve and refocus the way we deliver health care to our seniors."

•••••

The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York is an independent private foundation whose mission is to improve the health and health care of the people of western and central New York.

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is a full-service, 171-bed regional medical center with extensive inpatient and outpatient services, including The Heart Center of Niagara, Diabetes & Endocrinology Center of Niagara, Wound Center of Niagara, Niagara Wellness Connection Center and UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. The first hospital in Niagara to be designated a stroke center by the New York State Department of Health, Memorial operates several satellite facilities, including the Summit Healthplex, Tuscarora Health Center, four primary care offices and the Schoellkopf Health Center. To learn more, visit http://NFMMC.org.

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