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$916,666 Grant to Interim LSU Public Hospital Boosts Behavioral and Primary Healthcare Services in the New Orleans Area

The American Nurse

New Orleans On behalf of the New Orleans Charitable Health Fund, the Louisiana Public Health Institute has announced that the Interim LSU Public Hospital (ILH) will receive a grant of $916,666 for the integration of behavioral and primary healthcare services.

ILH will use its funding in three main areas. It will hire a social worker and psychologist to increase the capacity of the Bayou District Health Center in Columbia Parc in collaboration with East Bank area schools and communities. The collaboration will mirror ILH's West Bank behavioral-health school and community programs and will screen pregnant and post-partum women for depression. ILH will also work with the Metropolitan Human Services District (MHSD) and the City of New Orleans Healthcare for the Homeless Clinic to improve coordination of referrals and care for patients. In Algiers, a newly established collaborative, LSU/MHSD Comprehensive Clinic will provide integrated behavioral and primary healthcare services, patient navigation and access to social support services, such as housing, case management and transportation.

This expansion of services will tie ILH East and West Bank programs together and provide depression screening for all school-aged children, adolescents and adults as well as onsite behavioral health access in all ILH medical homes, keeping them in compliance with new guidelines and recommendations of the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

"The grant allows us to strengthen our outpatient behavioral health and primary care services and partnerships," said Dr. Juzar Ali, ILH Medical Director. "We will be able to extend the reach of our existing coordinated care network, increase the patient population we serve and enhance multidisciplinary access."

The New Orleans Charitable Health Fund gave a total of $5.5 million to six organizations in one-time grant funding. The grants are to support and lay the foundation for innovative and sustainable system changes in greater New Orleans for integrated behavioral health, primary healthcare and linkages to social services over the three-year grant period of July 2012 to June 2015. LPHI developed the grant program for NOCHF and is administering the dispersal of the grant awards. A team of local and national experts considered the grant proposals in a highly competitive review process.

"LPHI and NOCHF are committed to improving population health, promoting sustainable system changes and increasing access to care," said Joe Kimbrell, LPHI CEO. "The NOCHF innovations and system advancements in behavioral and primary healthcare integration will play a vital role in laying the foundation for improving health outcomes in our region."

Other organizations receiving funding are Access Health Louisiana, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Excelth, Inc., Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority and Administrators of Tulane Educational Fund on behalf of the Ruth U. Fertel Tulane Community Health Center and the Drop-in Clinic.