Tapping the community to fund new CM position

Northeast Health Systems in Boston hopes to find an outside source of funds for its new lifestyle specialist position, but it doesn’t have to hold off launching its new case management model until that funding source is found. (For more information on the case management program, see article on p. 12.)

"The first lifestyle specialist position will work with our Senior Wellness program which is completely self-sufficient," says Joan Kwiatkowski, LISCW, director of social work and community programs at Beverly Hospital in Beverly, MA, a Northeast Health Systems facility. "The program earns all its money from an emergency response system staffed primarily by volunteers. There are now more than 700 subscribers to the emergency response system, and the revenues from that program support our wellness efforts," she explains.

Kwiatkowski is also trying to persuade managed care organizations to subscribe to the Lifeline system at a capitated per member cost. But Lifeline is not the only source of funding for Northeast Health Systems’ wellness efforts. "We receive financial donations from families who have used our community case management services. We invest the donations so that they earn a good interest rate, and use the money to fund wellness and prevention efforts," she explains.

"We recently had a patient who had a $200 television cable service bill he couldn’t pay and was about to lose his cable service," says Kwiatkowski. "The patient was basically housebound and received most of his health education information by television. We opted to pay his $200 bill, so that he could continue his television service and we could continue to bring him health education tapes," she notes. "In this case, it wasn’t just a matter of his entertainment, it was a preventive health measure. Without his television, he wouldn’t have the tool he needs to receive valuable self-care information."