Reading Hospital Receives Federal Grant to Address Social Determinants of Health

Reading Hospital – Tower Health announced today that it is one of only 42 organizations across the country, and one of three in Pennsylvania, selected to receive a grant for $50,000 from The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). The grant will be used as part of the “Improving Social Determinants of Health: Getting Further Faster program.” Participants will partake in a retrospective study to assess practices that have demonstrated success.

Social determinants of health are defined as conditions and health outcomes impacted by the places people live, learn, work, and play. This include, but is not limited to, housing, education, literacy, income, transportation, and access to health and nutritious foods.

To be eligible for the six-month grant all recipients had to demonstrate an existing Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) program. For Reading Hospital that program is the “Community Connection Project” (CCP). The CCP is an Accountable Health Communities Model funded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Through this program a Medicare and/or Medicaid patient of Reading Hospital may receive a call from a Patient Screener to participate in a brief survey regarding food, transportation, housing, utilities, and safety needs. Patients who screen positive for any of these needs will receive customized referrals to community organizations who can help address these issues.

The Community Connection team at Reading Hospital has completed more than 100,000 screenings and has addressed 62 percent of the social needs identified for patients.

“Our primary goal is to provide our Community Connection patients the resources they need to stay healthy and safe,” said Desha Dickson, Associate Vice President, Community Wellness at Reading Hospital.  “As part of our participation in the grant program we were required to identify a community team to participate along with us. Our team includes Berks Encore and Centro Hispano. Both organizations have participated in our SDOH initiative since 2017 and contributed significantly to its success.”

William M. Jennings, Reading Hospital President and CEO, said, “Reading Hospital’s commitment to our community is the promise of advancing health and transforming lives. Our Community Connection team accomplishes that promise every day as they connect our patients to resources in the community. I extend my thanks to our wonderful community partners who provide these vital resources to the patients in need. Without them, success would not be possible.”