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Florida Hospital awards more than $1 million in community projects to meet needs of underserved

Florida Hospital has awarded more than $1 million to community projects that provide important medical services to the underserved in Central Florida, including a new mobile dental unit that will provide free or reduced care to Osceola County residents.

“We are passionate about serving others and improving the health of all Central Floridians. By partnering with local organizations and supporting innovative projects, we can change — and save — lives,” said Yamile Luna, assistant vice president of Florida Hospital Community Impact. “Providing services at the appropriate time and setting also helps reduce medical costs and the overall financial strain on the health-care system.” 

Florida Hospital’s Community Health Impact Council, commonly known as CHIC, announced its latest recipient projects today:

·         Osceola County Mobile Dental Unit: The CHIC grant supports the Osceola County Health Department as it launches a mobile dental program to serve low-income, uninsured residents in the Holopaw, Kenansville and Narcoossee areas. The mobile unit will operate three days a week and provide free or low-cost services, beginning in January. ($304,903)

·         Care Coordination at Florida Hospital: This program provides patients with complex cases an advocate to ensure they receive proper support after discharge. The advocates will help patients make follow-up appointments, navigate community resources such as specialty clinics where they can receive free follow-up care, resolve barriers that prevent them from accessing health care, and help patients define their overall needs and goals. ($142,300)

·         Asthma Project Connect: The CHIC grant extends funding for this community-based asthma education and outreach program, which provides home visits, medication management and treatment plan assistance to minority communities in Orange County. ($175,702)

·         Aspire Health Partners: This navigation program provides a seamless transfer of patients in need of substance abuse or mental health services from hospital emergency departments to Aspire. ($474,654)

·         Senior Care Companions: The Osceola Council on Aging initiative provides chronically ill seniors with companions who help with their daily needs such as transportation, emotional support, health education and other assistance. ($150,692)

·         Healthy Eatonville Place: CHIC granted a request to roll over unused funds and allocate an additional $25,000 to continue the services of Healthy Eatonville Place. The program seeks to improve the health of Eatonville by reducing the prevalence of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and smoking.

Osceola Council on Aging CEO Beverly Hougland said the Care Companion program helps both low-income seniors who want to volunteer and those who are struggling with chronic illnesses.

Senior volunteers receive a small stipend and mileage reimbursement, which not only makes it affordable for them to volunteer but the program also supplements their income, she explained.

“The senior clients who suffer from chronic health problems have a friend in their Care Companion, who encourages healthy behaviors and provide health education,” Hougland said. “But they also help reduce social isolation which results in an improved quality of life for the program patients.”

About CHIC

CHIC is a subcommittee of the Florida Hospital Board of Trustees that serves as the governing body for all of Florida Hospital’s community benefit activities. CHIC approves, funds and measures initiatives that improve the overall health of Central Florida, address the needs of targeted populations, and also help reduce preventable medical costs. Since its formation in 2004, CHIC has awarded more than $14 million to dozens of projects throughout Central Florida. Projects funded by the Council target chronic-disease management, wellness and prevention, basic needs or population health. 

To learn more about CHIC and Florida Hospital's Community Impact department, visit floridahospital.com/community-benefit/