Wolf Administration Announces Grant Opportunity to Support North Philadelphia Community Health Workers

October 10, 2018

Harrisburg, PA — Governor Tom Wolf today announced a funding opportunity to support community health workers in North Philadelphia’s Health Enterprise Zone (HEZ).

“These grants can encourage partnerships and collaboration between health care providers, community organizations, and residents to address inequities and barriers to health care services, and reduce health care costs,” Gov Wolf said. “My hope is that projects funded through this grant opportunity will start to reduce these barriers and help people lead healthier lives.”

“As we work towards better long-term health outcomes for all Pennsylvanians, providing coverage for health care services is only the first step,” said Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller. “People in low-income households may struggle to access necessities such as nutritious food and stable housing, as well as health care and community services to help them get and stay healthy. By establishing partnerships, we can create meaningful solutions to help in many ways.”

The HEZ was identified through a partnership between DHS, the City of Philadelphia, area hospitals, universities, and community partners. More than 580,000 Philadelphia residents are covered by Medicaid, and approximately 320,000 reside within the eight-mile-long North Philadelphia HEZ. The zone spans from the beginning of Broad Street in the West Oak Lane section of the city to City Hall and includes four health systems, three of which are academic medical centers. Despite this, beneficiaries in zip codes around this corridor experience multiple health conditions and significant socio-economic barriers that result in high medical costs and utilization and chronic poor health.

The Request for Application (RFA) seeks proposals for projects that would achieve improved health outcomes for residents of communities within the HEZ through use of community health workers. Community health workers bridge the gap between health care providers and patients by helping patients navigate the health systems, providing social supports, and advocating for patients they work with. Community health workers are trained by medical and public health professionals and typically come from the communities they work with, ensuring cultural competence and helping patients they work with live healthier.

“Health is a fundamental human right, and we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to the same level of health and quality of life,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Health equity concerns include food insecurity, lack of pre-kindergarten education, and unaffordable housing. These grants will allow those working in this community to further their work to ensure that residents have access to the resources they need to live a healthy life.”

Projects funded through the RFA will use community health workers to address health disparities in children, older adults, and super utilizers and increase health promotion and education in the HEZ. Zip codes within the HEZ include: 19120-26; 19130-34; 19138; 19140-41; and 19144. Applicants are also expected to develop partnerships with other local entities to ensure sustainability beyond the grant period. Up to six grants will be awarded, and a portion of grant funding can be used for community health worker education and training.

For more information on the RFA, visit the PA eMarketplace here.

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