Care Coach Access Expanding with an Additional $1M Grant from NorthShore University HealthSystem
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RFU will increase the reach of its Community Care Connection (CCC) mobile clinic program thanks to a $1 million grant from NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Community Investment Fund (CIF), which aims to improve health equity and health care access to residents of underserved and underinsured communities. The funding is a continuation grant from CIF that builds upon the nearly $700,000 it awarded to support the mobile clinic in 2022.
The Care Coach, as the mobile clinic is known, is health equity in action, bringing free health services to medically underserved, hard-to-reach patients at more than 30 sites throughout Lake County, Illinois. This vital partnership with NorthShore will enable the CCC to expand its community outreach and capacity for health screenings; point-of-care testing for COVID-19, flu and strep; vaccinations; and health-education programs. Making access more equitable can, in turn, improve health outcomes for area residents who might otherwise have difficulty obtaining essential care through traditional healthcare delivery models.
“Collaborations with trusted partners who share our vision for equity like NorthShore University HealthSystem allow us to make an even bigger difference in the community,” said Wendy Rheault, PT, PhD, FASAHP, FNAP, DipACLM, RFU president and CEO. “Together, we are building health equity in our region by making health care more accessible and scaling up our outreach.”
The CIF partnership will help RFU continue addressing health disparities that exist in its own community and surrounding areas. According to the Live Well Lake County Community Health Improvement Plan (2016–2021), the highest incidences for diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and pre-diabetes are clustered in the lowest-income regions of the county, underscoring the need to bring free health services to underserved and under-resourced regions.
“These powerful partnerships are all about creating meaningful, lasting impact through data, relationships and resources,” said Gabrielle Cummings, president, NorthShore Acute Care Operations and Highland Park Hospital, NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health. “In just our first year, we already made impressive strides and have increased our understanding of how we can work together to make our communities healthier.”
For many underserved residents in Lake County, utilizing the Community Care Connection’s service offerings is an important first step along the journey to improved health and well-being. The Care Coach is staffed by licensed healthcare professionals who meet prospective patients and their families within their communities at sites that include village halls, schools, senior centers, shelters, food pantries, social service agencies, libraries, churches and community centers.
Area residents can access a variety of free health screenings for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cholesterol and osteoporosis, as well as vaccinations, health education and assistance to navigate finding primary or specialty care clinics for residents who require the next level of care for their medical condition. Information for the Care Coach’s monthly location schedule can be found online or by calling 847-578-8451.