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Stories

The CHART Program: An innovation in health care

For the past two years, people working in the CHART (Community Hospital Acceleration, Revitalization, and Transformation) Program have been addressing ways to improve hospital and emergency room use right here in Greenfield.

“Baystate Franklin Medical Center received a grant from the Health Policy Commission,” says Roseann Martoccia, LifePath’s executive director. “LifePath and Clinical and Support Options are the community partners providing the community health workers and a peer specialist to the team, which, along with a nurse practitioner, social worker, and mental health clinician, works with patients who have multiple visits to the emergency department or inpatient stays.”

“We meet with the core team regularly and are assigned patients that have agreed to be a part of the grant process,” says Laurie Deskavich, who supervises the community health workers at LifePath. CHART patients are primarily under 60, but there are some over 60, and they have behavioral health needs. Most are at or below poverty level, and several patients are homeless. “The hope is to minimize their need to go back to the emergency department.”

The CHART team asks each patient what it is that keeps bringing them to the hospital and responds accordingly, helping the patients get back on track to self-sufficiency within the healthcare system.

For example, last summer, one patient was visiting the emergency room weekly. After enrolling in CHART, she told the team it was “because it’s cooler there.” The program bought her an air conditioner to stay cool at home.

“The team takes the lead of the patient to connect them with community resources and their primary care providers,” says Roseann, “helping people get back on their feet.”

Types of assistance included:

  • transportation
  • medical co-pays
  • food
  • clothing
  • household items

The program has helped patients to reduce hospital visits by over 50% and has also improved the patients’ health, wellbeing, and ability to take care of themselves.

LifePath also has an emergency fund to help people in need access vital assistance. To make a tax-deductible donation to this fund, please send a check to LifePath at 101 Munson Street, Suite 201, Greenfield, MA 01027, or donate online.