ECMC funds inner-city testing, additional health care support services
Erie County Medical Center Corp. on Wednesday announced a community-based, inner-city health care initiative designed to support Buffalo’s vulnerable, at-risk residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. ECMC has been able to expand its testing capability. The effort is in concert with Kaleida Health’s recently announced effort to expand its laboratory testing capability for COVID-19. The new testing at ECMC and Kaleida will be offered to anyone in the general public who has been deemed symptomatic by a primary care doctor and has received a prescription to obtain testing. It is hopeful that more community testing will be supported by the federal government in the future.
Through Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program, New York Medicaid waiver funding will be used in vulnerable communities to increase testing and link individuals with primary care.
The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionally affecting minority and economically challenged areas due to social determinates of health that have created underlining health conditions in these communities. Organizations that have existing agreements under the DSRIP Medicaid program in these vulnerable communities will be able to apply for COVID-19 testing sites and apply for grant funding for up to $2,500 per day for up to 100 days. These organizations will have specific deliverables and reporting requirements to meet DSRIP goals.
In addition, $1.125M funds will also be provided to the African American Health Equity Task Force, to facilitate the task force’s work with inner-city churches and other community-based organizations to reach out to vulnerable individuals and educate them on COVID-19-related health issues and identify barriers to care and link individuals with primary care and COVID-19 testing sites.
Also with support of the New York, ECMC, through the DSRIP Program, will release $7.24 million as early distribution of funds to outpatient community partners, including primary care and behavioral health partners, as well as organizations who are engaged in three areas of activity: Expanding health care capacity to reach Medicaid and vulnerable populations (e.g. telehealth); address social determinants of health (e.g., food, food pantries, rent assistance, housing); and provide COVID-19-related care.
ECMCC President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., Ph.D., said, “ECMC, as a safety net hospital, is committed to working with our community partners, including faith-based organizations, to provide the vitally important health care resources to vulnerable communities. I would like to commend the African American Health Equity Task Force members for their efforts to raise awareness of the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the inner city. We look forward to working with them and all of our community partners to advocate for additional public and private support to address the needs of vulnerable individuals during this crisis.”