Maryland Commission Calls on Grant Applicants to End Health Care Disparities

Maryland is taking one step closer to establishing “health equity resource communities,” where officials will attempt to improve the overall health of neighborhoods with targeted grants to improve access to health services.

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Maryland is taking one step closer to establishing “health equity resource communities,” where officials will attempt to improve the overall health of neighborhoods with targeted grants to improve access to health services. Applications for the first round of grants opened this week.

“I believe this is a positive step in the right direction, which can serve as an example for the states of our country, to ensure that some of the inequalities in our health system are eliminated or reduced in a way. substantial. Sen. Antonio Hayes (D-Baltimore City) said in a virtual briefing Thursday afternoon.

The Pathways to Health Equity call for proposals was officially released on Tuesday. Applications should be sent on December 7th. The grants will be awarded in early February 2022.

The program was created as part of an emergency bill sponsored by Hayes and former Del. Erek L. Barron (D-Prince George’s) in the 2021 legislative session.

Approximately $ 13 million in grants will be awarded by the Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) to programs aimed at reducing health disparities in black, brown and disabled communities, improving health outcomes and improving health outcomes. access to primary care, promote preventive health programs and reduce the cost of medical services and decrease hospital admissions.

Health Equity Resource Communities are geographic areas with at least 5,000 residents who have reported poor health outcomes. These communities must be small enough that the incentives have a demonstrable impact on improving racial, ethnic, geographic and disability-related disparities.

Community-based non-profit organizations, non-profit hospitals, higher education institutions, federally qualified health centers, and local government agencies are eligible to apply for a grant under this program.

The grants focus on the disparities surrounding diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, maternal and infant mortality, and substance abuse disorders. But, in a virtual meeting hosted by the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative on Tuesday night, Mark Luckner, president of the CHRC, said applicants are also being asked to identify other health disparities in their communities.

“…[W]We are open to communities defining their own health disparities and if they have data to show that disparities exist and come up with targeted interventions that will offer demonstrable improvements in health outcomes … then we are open to examining these proposals, ”Luckner said Tuesday night.

Elizabeth Chung, chair of the CHRC’s consumer education subcommittee, stressed the importance of outreach on Thursday, noting that the CHRC will hold between two and four meetings, virtual and in person, over the next month and a half. to hear from directly impacted communities.

The Hayes and Barron-sponsored bill is similar to the Health Enterprise Zone pilot initiative passed when Congressman Anthony Brown (D) was the state’s lieutenant governor.

This program designated five health enterprise zones that had little access to health care services.

Brown told a virtual event Thursday that Johns Hopkins reported a decrease of 18,000 hospital stays and more than $ 100 million in healthcare cost savings from the pilot initiative.

He called the 2022 grant program “Health Enterprise Zone 2.0”.

“It is important that the community comes together, identifies solutions uses these valuable resources to make a real difference in addressing health disparities in Maryland,” said Brown.

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