The Bronx Social Care Network looks to become a lead entity among New York State-funded Social Care Networks

The coalition’s hyper-local focus will enable a comprehensive approach to social care screening and services, “For the Bronx, By the Bronx.”

BRONX, N.Y., April 25, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, The Bronx Social Care Network (BSCN), a coalition of Bronx-based federally qualified community health centers (FQHCs) partnering with more than 50 Bronx-based community-based organizations (CBOs), led by Urban Health Plan, one of the largest Community Health Center systems in New York State, announced their application to become “Lead Entity” for Region 4 (The Bronx) under New York State’s Health Equity Reform initiative.

For decades, these uniquely qualified organizations have collaborated as a borough-wide social care ecosystem to address the social drivers of health, ensure health equity, and improve the health outcomes of the borough’s most vulnerable populations. With over 200 years of combined experience in healthcare delivery and socially conscious, culturally sensitive programming, the network serves as the medical home for more than 500,000 Bronx residents, providing care over 2 million times annually. The essential funding the State has made available will allow the Bronx Social Care Network to strengthen and structure its network, build capacity, and, as a result, exponentially increase the number of individuals served.

“To say we have been preparing for this opportunity for years is an incredible understatement,” said Paloma Hernandez, President and CEO of Urban Health Plan and Board Chair of the National Association of Community Health Centers. “Never before in the history of Bronx healthcare have so many providers and community-based organizations united around one mission. We are incredibly proud of the work we have done in The Bronx to build the infrastructure to support this coalition of organizations that are deeply rooted in the community and committed to the people we serve. The State has made it very clear in its request for proposals that representation matters, and our motto is For the Bronx, By the Bronx; this is the work we do daily, we are very good at it, and this funding will allow us to serve more.”

Ms. Hernandez went on to note, “Our longstanding commitment to integrating community social care practices underscores why we are exceptionally qualified and a natural fit for the Social Care Network project. This enduring dedication is real and extends well beyond the limits of any isolated initiative.” 

Last January, New York State received approval from the federal government on a groundbreaking Medicaid 1115 Waiver to enhance the State’s healthcare system. Funds have been made available to create and support lead Social Care Networks (SCN), entities responsible for coordinating social care service delivery in each of the state’s nine regions. SCN led entities will serve as regionally based organizations charged with building reliable networks of CBOs to enable better Health-Related Social Need (HRSN) screenings and the delivery of social care services by CBOs.

“By now, we all know that The Bronx continues to rank last among the 62 counties in New York State in crucial health measures and outcomes across all the social drivers of health. Long before it became a conversation in public health circles, community-based health and social service providers in the Bronx knew that providing services that address our residents’ unmet social needs was critical if we wanted to improve health outcomes.  It took the COVID-19 pandemic for others to take notice of the pervasive disparities we always knew existed,” said Hernandez.

“We agree with Governor Hochul that every New Yorker deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care and that nation-leading investments and bold policy choices will protect public health and ensure all New Yorkers can access the care they need to live full, healthy lives,” said Hernandez. “The Bronx Social Care Network has built an infrastructure that has allowed us to be responsive to the social needs of our community in the face of unprecedented challenges, including the opioid crisis, the mental health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, devastating food insecurity, and the lack of affordable housing. We’re confident that the State will recognize our extraordinary efforts and successes by enabling us to continue to care for our own.”

The members of the Bronx SCN expressed their pride in the commitment and experience they bring to the table to address the goals of the Waiver.  Integral years of partnerships cultivated a network dedicated to addressing the NYS Healthy Equity Reform initiative’s key areas of focus in community development, recidivism, youth and anti-violence programming, family planning, and mental health care for persons and families experiencing anxiety, depression, opioid (OUD) or substance use disorders (SUD), workforce development, food insecurity, housing need and more. 

“BronxWorks is proud to stand with our peer organizations and join this crucial initiative.  For years we have worked alongside our community to address health disparities and lift lives of our Bronx neighbors,” stated BronxWorks CEO Eileen Torres.  “The Bronx Social Care Network truly formalizes these efforts and will bring stronger resources to our beloved borough.  We look forward to a time when our rank among other New York counties improves, and all Bronxites achieve equity in health and social care delivery.” 

“Comunilife, Inc. is committed to working alongside the Urban Health Plan as the Bronx Social Care Network designated lead entity to create a more accessible, equitable, and effective social care delivery system for those individuals we jointly serve in the Bronx,” said Beverly Raudales, MS, MD, Chief Program Officer, Comunilife, Inc. “Through our long-standing partnership, Comunilife looks forward to supporting the Urban Health Plan as the designated Bronx SCN as it continues to champion community-based health and social services for Bronx residents, always striving to achieve a permanent impact on the community’s well-being.”

Caroline Davis Joseph, MA, MS, ACUE, CEO & Founder, Compassion, noted, “The Bronx SCN will be the asset needed for our Bronx youth.  It’s no secret the lack of health resources, access, and education needed for Bronx youth, their families, and the overall Bronx community contributes to many of the social determinants of Bronx residents.  This is a holistic solution to decades and generations of unhealthy environments.  We look forward to and welcome this opportunity.”

Stephen Grimaldi, Executive Director of New York Common Pantry (NYCP), highlighted the initiative’s enduring partnership with Urban Health Plan in supporting the Bronx community. “Our shared commitment to enhancing the quality of life for Bronx residents gives me confidence in UHP’s suitability to deliver healthcare and health-related services to the most vulnerable populations in Region 4. NYCP stands proudly alongside UHP in their efforts to secure the necessary funding for this critical endeavor.” 

Dr. Donna Demetri Friedman, Executive Director of Mosaic Mental Health, shared, “Mosaic Mental Health has been serving the Bronx with behavioral health, substance use disorder, housing, crisis respite, vocational, and educational services for 65 years. For nearly a decade, we have been working with our FQHC partners to link Bronx residents to primary care, dental, women’s health, PT, and OT. Mosaic is thrilled to bring our services, linkages to CBOs in the community, and expertise to Bronx Care Network.”

Susan Sampogna, Rising Ground Executive Vice President & Chief Program Officer, added, “Rising Ground, a long-standing human service organization with a prominent presence in the Bronx, including a family health clinic, is pleased to be a coalition partner of the Bronx Social Care Network.” We know from firsthand experience the importance and impact of community-driven support in the Bronx.  We support and applaud the network’s application to be the “Lead Entity” for Region 4 under New York State’s Health Equity Reform initiative.”

About the Bronx Social Care Network:
For decades, Bronx health initiatives have prioritized addressing and confronting evidence-based inequities. Challenging entrenched systems of institutional bias has been central to combating health and social disparities in the Bronx. The Bronx Social Care Network (BSCN) strives to be the catalyst for borough-wide transformation. Securing a seat at the decision-making table is essential for the health and well-being of the Bronx community. Bronx health entities committed to meaningful change will unite their strengths, serving as a powerful force for local organizations rather than becoming mere resources for external agencies with marginal ties to the borough. “For the Bronx, By the Bronx is not just a slogan; it is the borough’s guiding principle. The BSCN’s leadership is committed to addressing the social determinants of health in the Bronx. With over 200 years of combined experience in healthcare delivery and socially conscious, culturally sensitive programming, the network serves as the medical home for more than 500,000 Bronx residents, providing care over 2 million times annually.

The BSCN’s leadership is committed to addressing the social determinants of health in the Bronx and is dedicated to spearheading initiatives that truly benefit and uplift the residents of the Bronx.

Bronx Social Care Network Steering Committee Members:

  1. Urban Health Plan (Lead Organization)
  2. BCHN Health
  3. Community Healthcare Network
  4. Morris Heights Health Center
  5. Mosaic Mental Health
  6. Ryan Health
  7. Sun River Health
  8. The Institute for Family Health
  9. VIP Community Services
  10. Union Community Health Center

SOURCE Urban Health Plan, Inc.

Originally published at
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