Group gives $1M to York health care program

(York Dispatch) The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has granted $1 million to York’s Aligning Forces for Quality program.

The program addresses the availability and quality of health care in southcentral Pennsylvania and will use the grant to complete its two last years in service in its current form.

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative, the project is one of 16 across the country. It began its work in 2007 and will end in 2015.

“It’s great to have Robert Wood Johnson believe in us so much,” said Chris Amy, project director of Aligning Forces for Quality.

The program has expanded over the years, she said.

“We built a really strong foundation that started in York and Adams (counties) and is now southcentral Pennsylvania-wide,” she said.

What’s next: Amy said the program’s fourth and final phase under the Johnson grant will strive to address several parts of health care reform: hospital readmission rates, better care for chronic diseases, new models of care and performance, and complex populations, such as patients who use an enormous amount of care.

It will also work with local Federally Qualified Health Centers, which receive grants and serve low-income areas or populations, to improve diabetes care among patients who require complex care and encourage women ages 24 to 64 to get a Pap smear every two years.

“We’re working toward a new vision,” she said. “It’s time for us to do (that).”

The final phase: The program will be funded till May 1, 2015, she said. What happens after that is largely undecided.

“We have two years to figure it out,” Amy said.

She said the program will endeavor to continue its focus on the broader southcentral community as it moves forward. Its future form could be as a nonprofit organization.

“I really do believe the broader community of southcentral Pennsylvania believes in what we’ve done,” she said. “They don’t want this work to end.”

Amy has worked closely with the program since its inception.

“I am so proud to have been involved in this,” she said. “I have been able to see this start as just an idea to now being a full-fledged program.”

But she said its mission is far from over.

“It’s been a very rewarding ride, and I look forward to continuing,” Amy said.