Plainfield is an ethnically and economically diverse population that is facing many of the same challenges as much larger communities, including how to improve health outcomes for a large group of uninsured and under-insured residents. In 2016 Plainfield became one of 20 New Jersey communities to receive New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) funding and other resources to improve local health outcomes through long-term, policy-oriented solutions. We used that grant funding to establish the Healthy Plainfield coalition, a cross-sector coalition (health providers, faith-based organizations, local government, human service agencies and businesses) that is working collaboratively to address the social determinants that impact health outcomes.
Communities across the country are implementing innovative strategies that are positively impacting the health of their residents. Several strategies and partnerships are making a positive difference in Plainfield.
Communities across the country are implementing innovative strategies that are positively impacting the health of their residents. Here are several strategies and partnerships that are making a positive difference in Plainfield.
Plainfield Health Connections (PHC), an innovative program started by Healthy Plainfield partner JFK Medical Center in 2014 with funding from Johnson & Johnson, focuses on patients who habitually use the Satellite Emergency Department (SED) in Plainfield for conditions that are best served by a primary care doctor. Each year, the goal is to enroll an additional 100 patients in the PHC program. We have successfully met this goal and have helped each patient identify a primary care physician who meets their needs and is easily accessible, as well as ensure the patients have had the age-appropriate yearly screenings. PHC also looks closely at any social issues that may be hindering the patient from living a healthy lifestyle.
Another innovative approach is working closely in partnership with our Federally Qualified Health Center, Neighborhood Health Services Corporation, to make sure patients who visit the SED are able to get a follow-up appointment at the Neighborhood Health Services Corporation within a week of their SED visit. This process also assists patients who do not have a primary medical doctor, to designate the Neighborhood Health Services Corporation as their primary medical doctor. This program started in late 2016 and we expect to increase the number of patients served this year.
Our work to date includes partnering with Lifelong Plainfield, the community’s age-friendly initiative. Both initiatives have benefitted from the cross-coordination on several projects, including expanding access to fresh food for residents. Originally, there was one Farmers’ Market in Plainfield. Since then, we have expanded to two community food distribution programs that are open to the general public, along with two free food distribution sites at senior citizen communities.
Currently, Healthy Plainfield is moving into the implementation phase of the strategies identified in our blueprint. The blueprint is the culmination of months of collecting input and data from various stakeholders to identify existing health-related opportunities and programming in our community. Our coalition’s Executive Leadership team is working diligently on continuing to identify new partners that would enhance the coalition’s capacity and vision. An expanded cross-sector coalition would increase our ability to impact obesity, access to care and education – the three health priorities and social determinants at the center of our blueprint for building a healthier Plainfield. Connect with us to learn more and partner in this work.