"A Partnership for Health"
“A Partnership for Health”
By: Patrick Mahaney RD LDN, Manager Community Outreach | Population and Corporate Health at Boca Raton Regional Hospital
Boca Raton Regional Hospital (BRRH) Community Outreach, in collaboration with FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine Residents Clinic, have partnered with Boca Helping Hands since 2016 to provide access to health care for those who may otherwise go without.
It’s probably fair to say that when most individuals think about our community (Boca Raton) they think of sun, sand and celebrity. On the whole, the image most people conjure in their minds when thinking of Boca Raton is probably fairly accurate for a significant percentage of the city’s residents.
What most individuals do not generate in their minds eye as the quintessential picture of Boca Raton are the almost 1 in 7 residents who live in poverty.
In 2015 as part Boca Raton Regional’s tri-annual community health needs assessment, we comprehensively reviewed the health data for our community. During this process we discovered that nearly 16% of our neighbors and friends are living in poverty and are uninsured. It quickly became a priority for the Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Community Outreach department to address this disparity.
In response to this need, BRRH set out to partner with Boca Helping Hands, a pillar of help and hope to the population we were hoping to impact with our programs and services.
In 2016, in collaboration with Boca Helping Hands and the FAU College of Medicine Residents Clinic, we began our programs to improve access to healthcare for our community members who are uninsured and or living in poverty.
BRRH’s Community Outreach team provides free monthly blood pressure screening and free quarterly biometric screening including: cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and BMI. The FAU College of Medicine residents review the results and counsel individuals on their health risk. Those who are identified as high risk meet with a dedicated health navigator who is then able to schedule them at the BRRH Residents Clinic for free or reduced cost care.
Patrons of Boca Helping Hands were slow to respond to the outreach team initially. Over the past two years however, the team has established itself as a reliable, open and caring resource. The Outreach team now has a host of regular patients who utilize the screenings to monitor their chronic conditions and seek guidance from the physicians and health navigators and many who have established care at the FAU Residents Clinic.
In addition to health screening and free and reduced cost medical care, the BRRH outreach Dietitian teaches a monthly class on (Nutrition Basics) at the Boca Helping Hands Remillard Family Resource Center. The classes run in a 6 month cycle. Each class builds on the concepts from the prior covering a variety of useful topics: USDA Dietary Guidelines, Nutrition Facts Label Reading, Vitamins and Minerals, Navigating the Grocery Store, Portion Control and Physical Activity.
BRRH’s Partnership for Health with Boca Helping Hands has allowed the hospital to establish relationships with those in the community who are most in need of health care and least able to access it. Our valued relationship with the staff and patrons of BHH has provided BRRH the ability to honor our strong foundation as a community hospital by continuing to focus our efforts and its resources on the health and welfare of the community we serve.