November 7, 2011
By AMANDA BUCK - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Harvest Foundation has awarded a $3.6 million grant to the Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness to continue and enhance its programs.
Part of the $3,610,049, three-year grant will be used to create the HealthConnect center, an office and website that will help people in the community get answers to their health care questions, said Barbara Jackman, the coalition’s executive director.
“On one level it will be providing information coordinating what we or other organizations do — fitness classes, programs for youth, medication assistance, etc. — and on the next level there will be people available if you need help with forms, enrolling in programs, anything like that,” Jackman said.
The center will be open to anyone in the community, she said.
The idea came about during meetings of 80 or 90 community members involved in the health care field, said Allyson Rothrock, executive director of the Harvest Foundation. As they worked to create a Community Health Strategic Plan, they thought a one-stop center where people could get information about health education, how to access to basic health services and get help getting connected with community services, such as ways to help people stay in their homes, would be helpful, Jackman said.
Available services at the center might include everything from help for people with language barriers to information about exercise class schedules to help filling out paperwork, Jackman said.
Many of those services already are provided in the community, but this will bring them together in one location and make them easier to access, she said.
A location for the office has not yet been found, she said, but she hopes it will be in the city.
“In the areas of prevention and access to care, HealthConnect will fill a major void,” Nancy Cox, Harvest Foundation senior program officer, said in a news release. “It will be the hub of our health care delivery system — a place where anyone can go (by walking in off the street or linking online) to find out what services exist and how to connect to them.”
The grant also will be used to continue funding for coalition programs such as the Bassett Family Practice, which provides care to many uninsured and under-insured people on a sliding fee scale; exercise classes; diabetes education; and more, Jackman said.
Preschool and youth efforts will focus on integrating health into school wellness, and fitness and nutrition programs will be offered through partnerships with the medical community, according to the release.
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