HCN News & Notes

Revitalize CDC Helps Bridge Healthcare, Housing Through COVID-19 Emergency-response Program

SPRINGFIELD — Revitalize Community Development Corporation (CDC) and the BeHealthy Partnership accountable-care organization (ACO) made up of Health New England, Baystate Health Centers, and Caring Health Center, have been doing innovative work to understand patients’ social and medical needs throughout Western Mass. These needs are addressed under MassHealth’s Flexible Services Program.

Since early November, the partnership, as part of COVID-19 and nutrition emergency response, has supported patients at risk of contracting COVID-19 by providing them with essential supplies and access to nutritious food at home. The program specifically serves vulnerable members of the community who may face food insecurity and homelessness to allow them to remain safe and healthy in self-isolation.

Patients enrolled in the program are insured through the BeHealthy Partnership and are identified as high-risk for contracting COVID-19 or have already contracted the virus with a risk factor of nutritional imbalance. The program will run through the end of the year and is making contactless deliveries that also include COVID-19 prevention supplies, including disinfectants, microfiber cleaning cloths, face masks, cleaning gloves, dish detergent, food-storage containers, hand soap, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, hand sanitizers, and food from local pantries.

In addition, over Thanksgiving, Wildwood Elementary School in Amherst, CCRC Manufacturing in Springfield, and an individual donor donated turkeys with all the fixings. Revitalize CDC is also collaborating with Stone Soul to deliver turkeys, hams, and chickens to families over the December holidays.

“The BeHealthy Partnership ACO jumped at the opportunity to utilize the Flexible Services funding provided to them by MassHealth to help our community in need during this pandemic,” said Preeti Nakrani, Medicaid and BeHealthy Program manager at Health New England. “The prevalence of food insecurity has risen to unseen levels in recent months, and the COVID-19 food-delivery program that the ACO has launched in partnership with Revitalize CDC aims to promote social distancing while simultaneously addressing the food crisis. Our high-risk community members will no longer need to leave their homes and risk exposure in order to buy groceries. In a very short amount of time, we have seen significant demand for this service.”

Libby Lord, Revitalize CDC COVID-19 Program Assistant, noted that “the people I’m delivering to are cooperative and appreciative despite the hard times they’re having. They inspire me, and they’ve made me feel the holiday spirit — which I really haven’t felt for quite a while.”