Woods, a New Jersey- and Pennsylvania-based life cycle care management organization, received one of the first Inclusive Health Communities Grants from the N.J. Department of Human Services’ Division of Disability Services
LANGHORNE, P.A. (April 5, 2021) –Woods Services, a Pennsylvania and New Jersey-based nonprofit organization, was recently awarded a $100,000 capacity building grant to increase access to primary care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and mental health challenges who experience significant disparities in access to care and health outcomes. With the funding, Woods will establish an integrated and inclusive primary care practice within or adjacent to Salem Medical Center, a hospital destination of choice for those living in or around Salem County, N.J. The initiative is funded by an Inclusive Healthy Communities Grant from the Division of Disability Services, New Jersey Department of Human Services, and administered by Rutgers University Bloustein School of Public Policy and Planning. Woods is one of the first recipients of an Inclusive Health Communities Grant, a program that launched in January. This national initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focuses on policy, systems and environmental change to create inclusive healthy communities.
Woods’ project, titled “Expanding Access to Primary Care for People with Intellectual Disabilities,” will be implemented over the next nearly 18 months. Other program partners include Woods’ affiliates Allies, Inc., located in Hamilton Township, N.J., and Legacy Treatment Services in Mount Holly, N.J., that along with three other human services nonprofits, comprise Woods’ life-cycle management and advocacy organization serving 22,000 people with disabilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Woods will conduct a needs assessment of health care access and experience among people with disabilities, their families and provider organizations to further inform project planning. In addition, an inclusive primary care practice will be established over the 18-month timeline, serving community members with and without disabilities in Salem County and surrounding areas. Outcomes will be documented and shared. The health care model proposed will be replicable throughout New Jersey where there are documented shortages of primary care providers and gaps in services.
The grant builds on the successful patient-centered medical home model employed by the Medical Center at Woods located at the Langhorne campus. Woods utilizes quality care coordination as well as the deployment of nurse practitioners as primary care providers. Woods’ model places an emphasis on prevention and management of chronic conditions thereby reducing unnecessary and costly emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations.
Children and adults with IDD and mental health challenges experience multiple barriers to healthcare access, including finding providers who are willing to take the time often needed for longer patient visits and are trained to overcome communication, behavioral or other challenges. Additionally, children and adults with IDD and behavioral challenges tend to have more complex medical issues than those without. When their intellectual disability is linked to a variety of genetic disorders, the medical challenges may significantly exceed those of persons without such genetic conditions.
The proposed primary care settings are adapted to mobility, communication and sensory needs, delivered by providers who are well-versed in the care of people with disabilities and complex needs, and who are able to accommodate and overcome barriers to care resulting from those complex challenges. The project will focus primarily on Salem County and adjacent counties which have gaps in access to care, and where project partners have a strong presence serving individuals with IDD and mental health challenges and their families.
“As a life-cycle care management organization, we are grateful for this grant that will enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and challenges to receive first-rate healthcare in a setting that meets their needs, provided by people with expertise in treating their complex conditions,” said Tine Hansen-Turton, president and CEO, Woods Services. “For many people with IDD and mental health challenges, who often have complicated medical needs, the ability to reduce environmental disruptions while providing them with exceptional healthcare is truly a game changer.”
“We were truly excited to support Woods in their grant-seeking efforts to bring integrated and primary care services for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Dr. Tammy Torres, CEO, Salem Medical Center. “Bringing these behavioral health services to our community is part of our strategic vision building on the opening of our adult Psychiatric Unit by bringing in complementary and integrated mental health programming.”
This initiative was funded (or funded in part) by an Inclusive Healthy Communities Grant from the Division of Disability Services, New Jersey Department of Human Services.
About Woods Services
Woods Services is a nonprofit, life cycle care management and advocacy organization that, along with five affiliate organizations located in Pennsylvania and New Jersey – Allies, Inc., Archway Programs, Legacy Treatment Services, Tabor Services, and Woods Community at Brian’s House – provides innovative, comprehensive, and integrated health, education, housing, workforce, behavioral health, and case management services to more than 20,000 children and adults in the intellectual and developmental disability, behavioral, child welfare, and brain trauma public health sectors who have complex and intensive medical and behavioral healthcare needs. Founded in 1913 by Philadelphia schoolteacher Mollie Woods with two simple goals – to advance quality of life and standard of care for individuals with disabilities – Woods Services continues its mission today by helping children and adults with disabilities or challenges to achieve their highest potential. Among the ways Woods does this is through its population health management strategy, which includes the integration of primary and specialty medical care with behavioral health in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, visit woods.org.
About Salem Medical Center
With a mission of delivering high quality, compassionate healthcare to Greater Salem County, SMC returned to not-for-profit status in 2019. Salem Medical Center is licensed for 126 beds, inclusive of medical-surgical, intensive care and behavioral health. SMC provides critical access to the community through its Emergency Department (nearly 20,000 patients annually), Surgery (outpatient/inpatient, about 2,500 cases annually) and Inpatient Acute Care (about 2,500 admissions annually). SMC has more than 200 physicians on staff. Salem Medical Center is dedicated to growing new services and recruiting physicians relevant to our community—making SMC a destination of choice for Salem County and surrounding areas.