Kaiser grant to help with access to health care

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 3, 2013 

— The Golden Valley Health Centers is among several nonprofits in the Central Valley that received money from Kaiser Permanente to help improve access to health care services.

Kaiser Permanente gave nearly $1.04 million in more than 20 grants ranging from $1,000 to $75,000.

Golden Valley received $48,845 to help support its efforts to increase the focus on patient needs, communication and care, said Christine Noguera, interim chief executive officer for Golden Valley.

Health providers don't necessarily communicate with one another, Noguera said. As a result, patients sometimes find themselves having to navigate the often complex and confusing health care system on their own.

Officials at Golden Valley hope to coordinate care for patients and provide better communication with their providers.

For example, Noguera said Golden Valley staffers will communicate with the specialists that their patients see so they fully understand what care is being recommended.

Golden Valley is working with Mercy Medical Center to improve communication as well, Noguera said. That way providers at Golden Valley will be able to immediately follow up with patients who show up at the emergency room.

The grant funds will assist Golden Valley in helping patients manage their own care, especially those with chronic diseases, Noguera said, by aiding them in getting the preventive help they need.

Noguera said the grant will be helpful because there's little funding for developing patient-centered organizations, even thought that's the direction in which health care is moving.

"We believe that it has the opportunity to truly impact and improve the quality of care that we provide," she said.

The Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grants come at a time when other funding sources are limited and private donations are down, according to Kaiser. The grants that went to nonprofits in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties will help improve access to health care, promote healthy eating and fitness, and management of chronic disease.

Chyresse Hill, spokeswoman for Kaiser, said the grants are in line with its commitment to serve the communities where it operates.

"Supporting the health of our community is a cornerstone of Kaiser Permanente's model of care," Corwin Harper, senior vice president for Kaiser said in a statement. "Whether we are improving access to care, helping with better options for nutrition and fitness, or funding efforts to fight rising obesity rates, we believe granting charitable contributions to these vital organizations is essential community stewardship for the health and well-being of our community."

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or yamaro@mercedsunstar.com.

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