Central Illinois healthcare providers to receive $ 5 million of $ 18 million in new state funding to transform healthcare for people on Medicaid and other underserved populations . This is part of the so-called Illinois Healthcare Transformation Collaboration.
Joan Hartman is vice president of strategy and public policy for Chestnut Health Systems, based in Bloomington. Hartman said Chestnut would add access to OSF telehealth services as part of the five-year state grant that will use technology to remove barriers to care.
Hartman also said the program will help Chestnut open a dental clinic next year and hire a dental director, two dental assistants, two hygienists and a dentist. Ultimately, the program will serve more than 2,500 people per year, but not initially.
“Because they haven’t had access to good dental care in the past, they have untreated dental problems that will take a long time to be treated,” Hartman said, adding that access to telehealth for them. Chestnut clients will improve care and outcomes.
“Which gives our patients (…) access to after-hours behavioral health support. And it also gives us the ability to work with chronically ill patients to be able to use certain health monitoring devices. patient care, ”she said.
Hartman said these devices can help stabilize people with chronic conditions such as diabetes.
Often times, people on Medicaid cannot afford to be as digitally connected as the average Illinois resident. This makes electronic health monitors and access to telehealth more problematic.
“Part of what we and OSF have built into the project is the ability of patients to access (to) Wi-Fi and telehealth and patient monitoring systems that electronically transmit information to their care providers. We also help them by providing them with the machines and tools they need, whether it’s a board for entering health information or a community health worker who comes to their home and explains to them. how to do all of these parts, ”Hartman said.
Chestnut now serves approximately 2,500 people on Medicaid. Hartman said state funding would increase that number by 20%, in addition to improving service for those already on the reels.
The grant will also allow Chestnut to hire six community health workers over the course of the five-year grant and strengthen wellness programs like the Chestnut Educational Kitchen which runs nutrition and cooking classes. healthy. And, she says, Chestnut will work with Bloomington’s Home Sweet Home Ministries to provide a nutrition-focused “food pharmacy”.