The North Country Health Consortium announced that it has received a Rural Health Network Development grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Rural Health Policy totaling $900,000 to support expansion of existing programming to strengthen the health-care delivery system in Northern New Hampshire.
The three-year grant will support the development of the Ways2Wellness Connect program, emphasizing the integration of community health workers with care coordination teams in the area. Further, North Country Health Consortium will hire and train community health workers to partner with area health care teams to assist older adult patients in accessing care and services in the community.
“The North Country has a proportionately larger aging population than the rest of the state and country as well as higher rates of chronic conditions— such as diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases,” said Nancy Frank, chief executive officer at NCHC.” Although relatively new to the state, community health workers have been an indispensable part of health care teams throughout the country for decades, and will allow North Country Health Consortium to address factors that affect health, disease progression, and care, including isolation, access to transportation, and healthy food.”
The Ways2Wellness Connect model was designed to keep patients with chronic diseases from “falling through the cracks,” with community health workers functioning as both care coordinators and health educators to bridge connections between providers, patients, family members, communities, and resources. In conjunction with the Ways2Wellness Connect program, health professions students completing rural community rotations through North Country Health Consortium's Live, Learn, Play in Northern New Hampshire program will participate in care coordination activities with community health workers.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to grow the community health workers workforce in the region, and we continue to share their value with providers and community residents to sustainability integrate community health workers into the greater infrastructure,” said Frank.
The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about North Country Health Consortium and Community Health Workers, go to nchcnh.org or call (603) 259-3700.