The West Baltimore Primary Care Access Collaborative
This week, the Bon Secours Baltimore Health System and a broad coalition of partners launched the West Baltimore Primary Care Access Collaborative, one of the first Health Enterprise Zones designated as part of the state’s new program to address health disparities.
Championed by the Lt. Governor and jointly administered by the Community Health Resources Commission and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the HEZ Initiative is a four-year pilot program with a budget of $4 million per year. The purposes of the HEZ Initiative are to: (1) Reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations and among geographic areas; (2) Improve health care access and health outcomes in underserved communities; and (3) Reduce health care costs and hospital admissions and re-admissions.
The West Baltimore Primary Care access Collaborative will work to expand access to primary and preventive care and create a community health infrastructure to serve residents of West Baltimore, a community facing some of the highest disease burden rates and worst social determinants of health care in the state. The coalition plans to support the recruitment of 18 new primary care professionals, deployment of 11 community health workers, and will build access to community health resources in the Zone, including access to healthy food retailers and exercise facilities. Senator Verna Jones-Rodwell, who helped organize the coalition, called the effort a “comprehensive, holistic approach,” to better health for the community. Here more from Senator Jones-Rodwell here: Senator Jones-Rodwell.mp3
Greg Kearns, the interim project director, said the collaborative is unprecedented in West Baltimore. Listen here: Greg Kearns.mp3