Since 2022, UnitedHealthcare has worked with the American Heart Association of Greater Washington Region to administer a two-year grant to serve underrepresented residents of Montgomery County, Maryland. The grant works through the Primary Care Coalition, where the Association alongside three associated Federally Qualified Health Clinics including CCI Health & Wellness Community Service Center, Chinese Culture and Community Service Center, and Muslim Community Center Medical Clinic that seek to deliver high-quality health services and improve health outcomes in vulnerable communities.
In the first year of the grant, several milestones were achieved!
Each clinical partner conducted a pre-assessment to customize how the Association could best support. The assessment focused on their use of blood pressure monitors, blood pressure measurement procedure and protocol, staff knowledge and skills as well as demonstrated a need for a nutrition security screening and referral process.
After a baseline for blood pressure care was established through the analysis of the pre-assessment, each clinical partner received 33 blood pressure monitors from the Association. They also received hypertension and food security education materials as well as a Target: BP Measurement Training. This training provided solutions and resources around common challenges in accurate blood pressure measurement in a clinical setting.
In February 2023, the Association brought on FindHelp, a free online community resource directory to refer food-insecure individuals and families who are treated by the clinics, to the resources they need. The Association also worked with the Montgomery County Food Council to introduce established resources available to county residents such as food assistance organizations, food distribution sites, and service consolidation hubs that provide enrollment assistance in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC programs. These critical relationships helped to create comprehensive solutions for food-insecure individuals.
The UnitedHealthcare grant has allowed the American Heart Association to provide these three clinical partners with blood pressure tools and resources and the opportunity to share knowledge and best practices through training sessions, presentations, and live demonstrations. The grant has enabled these practices to analyze and address challenges to improve care and reinforce blood pressure measurement guidelines and protocols. Educational blood pressure infographics and nutrition posters were placed in each exam room, triage area, and outside in the waiting room. Consistent internal team training and blood pressure measurement skill testing have been put into place. All patients are also now screened for food security and are referred to resources as they need them.
These milestones could not have been achieved without the continuous support of UnitedHealthCare and longstanding community relationships. With this critical support, the Association can continue to work alongside CCI Health & Wellness Community Service Center, Chinese Culture and Community Service Center, and Muslim Community Center Medical Clinic to save and improve lives throughout Montgomery County.
Submitted by: Sydney Ellis, Health Strategies Intern, 2023